Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2023

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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UNDER THE DOME BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM AUGUST 2023 7 BY TYLER HORKA J ack Swarbrick's final months as Notre Dame's director of athletics won't consist of sitting around sipping tea. There is work to be done from in South Bend. Most notably, Notre Dame needs to sign contracts to secure two expiring partnerships; one with a supplier of ap- parel and another with a television out- let to broadcast the university's football games. Here is the latest on both fronts. UNDER ARMOUR AGAIN? Notre Dame has been synonymous with Under Armour for nearly a decade. The logo is everywhere — just like the Notre Dame fan base itself. The two en- tities' 10-year apparel sponsorship deal expires at the end of 2024, though. It's difficult to look past Swarbrick's son, Cal, being the lead collegiate sports marketing agent at Under Armour when hypothesizing which supplier Notre Dame will sign with next. Per Cal's job description, he manages UA's servicing of collegiate and university partners and relationships. Many have seen that con- nection and drawn a conclusion — the Irish will re-up their agreement with Under Armour, and that's that. The writing is on the wall. Right? Maybe not. The elder Swarbrick warned against going that far. "It's still a very active process," Swarbrick told Blue & Gold Illustrated on June 28. "We went through a for- mal bidding process where we had very active participation. We're probably a month away from resolving it." Put simply, whichever way the reso- lution goes is a matter much bigger than an AD and his son. It's about one of the most recognizable sports brands in the world and the supplier it chooses to pair with. As of late June, Under Armour, Nike and Adidas were still candidates to supply all 26 of Notre Dame's varsity sports teams with the latest and greatest gear. Swarbrick said there are three key components the company Notre Dame ultimately signs with has to admirably adhere to: financial support, satisfac- tory service and distinguished leverage. "Not to reduce it to this, but the fi- nancial term is important," Swarbrick said. "There is an interesting percep- tion that we have all the money to do whatever we want to do. That's not the case, right? The resources that are made available to you through a deal like this become very important. That's number one. "Two is the level of service. Part of that is the product itself. Part of that is the responsiveness. The delivery of things on time. The accommodation to the needs of student-athletes. And then the last one is the ability to leverage the relationship to promote the university." To Under Armour's credit, it has de- livered on every bullet point. At the time Swarbrick struck the ex- piring deal with UA in January 2014, it was believed to be the most lucrative apparel sponsorship in the collegiate athletics — somewhere around $90 mil- lion. Financial support? Check. Er — not so fast. Marketplaces are altered in a hurry. Less than two years after the mar- riage of Notre Dame and Under Armour, UNDER THE DOME STATUS QUO? Notre Dame could extend important contracts with Under Armour and NBC NBC has broadcast every Notre Dame home game since 1991. The two parties' contract expires at the end of the 2025 season. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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