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Field hockey team blaze to win
Mustang uniforms add stripes
Adidas and Western enter partnership
By Chris Lackner
Remember when you were a kid and everything you wore had to bear a brand name (for some think back to this morning). For Western inter-collegiate athletes, that sentiment has become a daily reality.
Last Thursday, in a brief media conference at JW Little Stadium, Western Intercollegiate Athletics announced a five-year sponsorship with Adidas, that will see university athletes exclusively outfitted in Adidas footwear, clothing and accessories.
Jim Gabel, vice-president of sales and marketing for Adidas Canada, said Western joins a group of Adidas sponsored universities in the United States and Canada that include Notre Dame University and Nebraska University as well as Dalhousie University in Halifax.
"This [sponsorship] will allow athletes to perform to the best of their abilities," he said, adding Western was an ideal school for the partnership due to its high level of academic integrity and strong athletic performance.
"Many companies just sponsor professional athletics we're a proud sponsor of amateur athletics," he explained.
Gabel said one of Adidas' visions would be to see those Western athletes who reach professional ranks continue to use company products.
AND THAT'S THE WAY WE ALL BECAME THE ADIDAS BUNCH. Western's
student athletes will be decked out in the latest athletic Adidas
fashions this year.
The new clothing will be a sign of identifiable pride for athletes around campus, said Mike Mitchell, head of marketing and communications for Western IA. "The Adidas name is synonymous with success."
The sponsorship will likely reach in excess of one million dollars, he said, noting Western athletes were given the chance to offer their own input in the design of their team uniforms.
Gabel said the uniforms will be manufactured both within the United States and Canada. "We are sensitive as to where products are produced. In terms of our labour laws, we're well in the excess of minimum standards."
Adidas will gain both visibility, marketing and the important feedback from Western athletes for their financial contribution to the deal, he explained.
Dan Smith, Western director of athletics and recreation, said although the sponsorship deal is not with a Canadian company, it is with Adidas-Salomon Canada Limited, the Adidas subsidary in Canada. "This is a very significant partnership," Smith said.
When asked about possible pitfalls of an exclusive contract with one corporation, Smith stressed the strong reputation and quality values of Adidas. "I think any time you enter a long-term agreement you have some advantages and disadvantages," he said.
Jeremy Jonckheere, a member of Western's men's volleyball team and third-year Ivey business student, said any financial support for amateur athletics is a benefit. "Corporate backing is part of the game," he said. "You have to go out and give 100 per cent, no matter whose logo's on your chest."
The competitive nature of athletic apparel will provide any single company from providing a performance enhancing edge, Jonckheere said regarding the potential drawback of being stuck in a contract with one corporation, when another might develop a superior product.