Tarleton announces three-year deal with Nike

Mark Wilson mwilson@empiretribune.com
Tarleton State University Athletic Director Lonn Reisman shows off uniforms made by Nike Thursday during a news conference announcing a three-year exclusive deal with the world's No. 1 sports apparel company.

Tarleton State University’s multi-year agreement with BSN SPORTS and Nike marks the next step forward for the athletic department’s visibility “on the national stage,” according to Athletic Director Lonn Reisman.

The three-year deal was formally announced during a news conference this morning in TSU’s Wisdom Gym as Reisman stated that the business partnership that is now in effect for all of the university’s sports programs “gives us a unique branding and marketing opportunity to provide the best experience for our student-athletes.”

Reisman noted that since Nike is the No. 1 sports apparel company in the world, and “for them to approve us to be part of the Nike family was something we had to get involved in. It’s a great opportunity. Now we’re part of the Nike family. That’s pretty prestigious.”

Part of the reason for the connection was as a result of TSU’s increasing sports exposure through televised games.

The Texans’ Oct. 21 Lone Star Conference football game at Texas A&M-Kingsville will be streamed live on ESPN3 as part of the NCAA Division II Football Showcase. That marks the third time since February that TSU athletics have been chosen for a national live stream by the NCAA. The first two were basketball broadcasts on ESPN3 and the American Sports Network.

This is the first apparel deal for TSU athletics in more than 15 years.

“The entire athletics program at Tarleton is recognized on a national level and we are excited for this opportunity to partner with BSN SPORTS and Nike,” Reisman said in a statement prior to the news conference.

Aaron Loinette, regional manager of BSN Sports, a sports apparel distributor based in Dallas said, “We’re just thrilled to partner with Nike to elevate the student-athlete experience. Starting immediately, all sports will be transitioning to Nike apparel, on and off the field.”

Reisman said that the individual head coaches for each sport will chose uniform styles, and can select either a standard or a customized design.

“That depends on what the coach wants, which is very important,” Reisman said.

Most of TSU’s sports team were using Nike uniforms, and the baseball, softball and track squads will be wearing the brand starting with the 2017-2018 school year as well.

One of the representatives for Austin-based BSN SPORTS on hand Thursday was former Texan Nathan Hille, who played baseball for TSU from 2009-2011. He has worked for BSN SPORTS for six years, and he landed the job shortly after graduating from Tarleton.

“It’s pretty neat, especially for the baseball team because they haven’t been Nike,” said Hille, who played high school baseball for Austin Bowie. “It’s good for the whole student-athlete experience to be combined.”

The agreement makes Tarleton the only university in the LSC with an exclusive Nike apparel deal.

TSU joins the likes of Texas, TCU, Baylor and SMU, along with North Texas, Abilene Christian and Lamar as the only schools in the state with exclusive Nike apparel deals.

“We are excited to partner with Tarleton State University and Nike in elevating the performance and impact of their athletics program,” said Terry Babilla, president of BSN SPORTS. “This strategic partnership provides the finest apparel and athletic products to the Tarleton athletic teams and benefits each student-athlete on the athletic field or court. We are proud to be their partner, and pleased that we can elevate the student-athlete experience.”