Boston-based New Balance has a agreed to a multi-year deal with Husson University to outfit all 14 of the school’s varsity sports for clothing and footwear, Husson University Director of Athletics Bob Reasso announced Wednesday.
Bangor-based Husson will also partner with Wight’s Sporting Goods of Bangor for the retail portion of the agreement, Reasso added.
“We are looking forward to this being a long and prosperous relationship for Husson Athletics, New Balance, and Wight’s Sporting Goods which will greatly benefit our student-athletes,” he said.
Reasso would not specify the number of years of the agreement with New Balance, but explained there “is an opportunity for more” when the current deal expires.
The deal, which became effective on Sept. 1, gives Husson an ongoing relationship with New Balance that will unify footwear and apparel for the athletic department’s 14 varsity sports. Husson’s contract with New Balance constitutes one of the best Division III deals in the country, according to Reasso.
The deal doesn’t mean that the school receives free products from New Balance, but does receive products at a reduced with some free items.
“It’s a win-win situation for our kids,” Reasso said.
The deal with New Balance is important for Husson in several areas, he added.
“It’s an opportunity to brand ourselves in Maine, in New England and hopefully, nationally,” Reasso said. “It means a lot for our kids, for our student-athletes.”
After a year, Husson will be able to put a monetary value on what the deal saves the school, Reasso said, and he explained the new situation is better because it unifies the athletic department instead of having each team with its own deal, which had been the case. It also combines the buying power of all 14 teams.
The Maine connection with New Balance was another factor which Reasso likes about the deal as New Balance maintains three factories in Maine — Norridgewock, Skowhegan and Norway.
“We had offers from other companies but we felt that the quality of the New Balance product, the service, and the fact that they manufacture a portion of their footwear in the state of Maine, made this decision very easy for us,” he said.
“As a company that currently employs more than 800 associates in Maine, New Balance has deep roots in the state and is thrilled to partner with Husson University to provide high performance footwear and apparel to their athletes,” Mark Cavanaugh, general manager of team sports for New Balance said. “We look forward to watching Husson’s athletes compete in New Balance gear in one of our home states.”
Reasso said he was also pleased to work with Andy Nickerson, owner of Wight’s, and having the store become its local retail partner.
“The moment I met Andy. I knew Andy was the guy to work with us, along with Dave Paul [who works at Wight’s], who has handled all of our needs and is a great guy,” Reasso said.
Nickerson said his store is “excited to partner with New Balance and Husson University in enhancing the professional image of not only the athletic department but the entire school.
“We were pleased when Husson decided to keep the business relationship in state and local with both Wight’s and New Balance having ties to the state of Maine,” Nickerson added. “We believe Husson is creating a positive environment for their student-athletes and we are proud to be a part of that successful formula.”