YSU Athletics All-in on $1M Nike Apparel Deal

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Come July 1, Youngstown State University’s athletic department will enter a $1 million, five-year contract with BSN Sports to provide all of YSU’s teams with Nike apparel for game days.

All of YSU’s 19 intercollegiate teams have been with Nike except football, which had a deal with Under Armour – also through BSN Sports. A manufacturer and distributor of sporting goods apparel and equipment, BSN serves colleges, high schools and middle schools nationwide.

“I think it’s great brandwise, especially for recruiting when you’re out seeing kids. A lot of kids see that swish and they want to wear the swish,” said Steve Pinciaro, YSU’s athletic business manager. “I think it’s great for our department. It’s great for our kids. It’s great for our brand to bring Nike to the university.”

Ron Strollo, YSU athletic director, emphasizes Nike is a strong brand, but Under Armour had a recognizable name as well.

“It’s obviously nice to just work with one vendor and have all of our student-athletes kind of wearing the same brand,” he said. “I think that benefits us.”

Per the agreement, game-day jerseys must be Nike brand.

To ease the contract transition, Nike agreed to provide at no charge about $200,000 worth of game-day uniforms for the upcoming season, Strollo said.

In addition, YSU has the opportunity four times annually to offer everyone on campus a 45% discount on Nike apparel through the BSN website. Normally, the discount is 20%.

Under the previous agreement, YSU would order equipment through BSN and get promotional dollars back at the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30, Pinciaro says. That money could be used the next fiscal year at retail value.

“We have an annual spend that we have to meet based on our budget,” he says. “The numbers that we’ve submitted to them, anything above that annual percentage spend we get 11 percent back toward the department.”

The new contract for the Nike brand is for game-day purposes only. Other brands can be worn during practices.

As far as the football team is concerned, the Penguins can use Under Armour cleats, gloves and other apparel for their practices. “Just as long as we show up on Saturday afternoons with a swish,” Pinciaro says.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.