Beginning with this fall's football season, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) will grant a five-year exclusive license to Russell to manufacture and sell the merchandise of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) comprising the conferences. As part of the agreement, Russell will provide the conferences with royalties on the sales of apparel licensed through the institutions. Russell will also supply the schools with some uniforms, performance and casual apparel, and athletic equipment at no cost, whereas in the past the HBCU schools purchased all of their own products.
"New Vision Sports has created an opportunity for the conferences to leverage our visibility in a way that will greatly improve our athletic programs," says SWAC Commissioner Robert Vowels. "The SWAC is proud to be involved in such a historic partnership."
Athletic programs from the three conferences included in the agreement are men's and women's basketball and soccer, football, baseball, softball and volleyball.
"These agreements expand our opportunities beyond the team uniform business," said Jon Letzler, Russell Corporation president and COO. "By including our Russell Athletic, JERZEES, Moving Comfort, Bike and Spalding brands, we will have increased brand awareness and sales opportunities from the playing fields to the college bookstores. This is a true win-win situation."
"This unprecedented association we have formed with Russell marks a major step forward for our sports programs," says SIAC Commissioner Dr. William Lide. "Significant new dollars will reach our athletic programs through this agreement. This allows us to take more control over what products we present to consumers. It also opens new doors for Russell and its products."
The SIAC and SWAC are comprised of 21 institutions of higher learning that have been in existence for over 100 years, producing some of the sporting world's most famous athletes, including legendary names like Deacon Jones, Edwin Moses, Walter Payton, Lou Brock, Shannon Sharpe and Willis Reed among others.
New Vision Sports Properties of Oakland, California is a full service sports marketing company that specializes in selling, executing and servicing major corporate sponsorships. In it's first year of representing the SWAC, MEAC and SIAC as a group, New Vision has aggressively implemented a multi-faceted sports marketing program that has generated huge dividends for the universities in the form of a newly created and extensive television deal and a new merchandise/retail program. As part of its newly created corporate partnerships for the conferences, New Vision has produced relationships with three Fortune 500 companies.