St. John's is switching apparel companies from Nike - who outfit a number of teams and have given the Red Storm the newer Hyper Elite look, along with black and grey uniforms - to Under Armour. A possible leak of the new uniform was posted by the Rumble, as well.
The significance of a new apparel deal, which won't be official until July 1st, is more than just the on-court look; exposure and money mean a great deal. Lenn Robbins learned some of the back-end details that made the switch from Nike to Under Armour a marquee deal for the Red Storm:
Sources said St. John’s and Under Armour have agreed to a six-year deal that will give the Red Storm a package commensurate with those of the top five percent of Division I basketball programs that don’t play full-scholarship football....
Under Armour, known for its state-of-the-art form fitting workout attire and outrageous uniforms, believes the Johnnies are worth the money because it gives the company big-time visibility in the biggest sports, media, financial and entertainment market in the country.
...the deal includes sneakers, apparel, marketing money and marketing partnerships between the two entities, compensation for Lavin, and additional money to be used at the athletic department’s discretion to fund scholarships, make capital improvements and for other options.
The deal includes benefits for the team exposure, for the coach, and even other programs - needed funds as the Red Storm and the new Big East work to keep up with the football-funded Joneses.
Visibility in stores and in advertising boosts the programs cachet in the eyes of ticket-buying fans and intrigued recruits. Fans had complained about not being able to find gear in stores, even in New York. Now, the Johnnies will get the exposure of a marquee team.
While next year will be key for the Big East as a conference, and while there may be debate for years about where the new league stands in the basketball hierarchy, the current basketball system allows a marquee team with strong revenue streams, exposure, and success to shine, no matter their conference affiliation.
The Under Armour deal is the kind of serious move that will help get the Red Storm back to the elites of the sport.