The Long Beach State Dirtbags will go from “I will” to “Just Do It,” after signing a new contract with Nike this past summer.
With Long Beach’s previous contract with Under Armor ending, the Dirtbags wanted to come to terms and agree on a contract that best suited the program’s needs. In the summer of 2018, the Dirtbags signed a contract with Nike approximately worth $500,000 worth of product over a five-year span. Nike offered the best deal that the program has ever received, according to executive senior associate athletic director Rob Clark.
“We were looking for a partnership to extend our brand but most importantly to get the highest quality uniform and apparel for the team,” Clark said. “When Nike came with an offer, we realized it was better than what we had in the past in terms of how we are being supported.”
The five-year deal is exclusively for baseball products only, which also includes Nike Elite.
“Having Nike Elite is a big deal, because most schools that have Nike Elite are power five schools,” Clark said.
From a baseball standpoint, the new deal with Nike is on par with the major schools.
“Our program is the type that should be in Omaha and hosting and playing in Regionals and Super Regionals,” Clark said. “This is the type of contract that reflects that.”
The Nike deal covers uniforms and apparel, which includes workout clothes, socks, belts, workout shoes, cleats and hats. Unlike previous years, the athletic administration came to negotiations with Nike.
“What has happened in the past is the contracts have been negotiated by coaches,” Clark said. “At most division one schools, the athletic administration handles the deals as far as apparel.”
Despite the Dirtbags having a rare down year, the Nike deal is a big step toward advancing and reflecting what the program represents.
“The recruits coming up are excited to be playing with the famous swoosh on their chest,” Clark said. “It’s a step that towards the right direction.”
The deal itself has had an impact on not only current players and coaches but as well as recruits.
“The customer service and product is the best in the business,” interim co-head coach Greg Bergeron said. “Nike is the top shoe and apparel brand out there, and we are fortunate to have them. I think other schools know Nike is the premier brand and for us to be partnered with them is a huge deal.”
Clark said after a season like this one, there is a process to get back to where the program is capable of playing.
“We have our work cut out for us in the next little bit to get back on the track we want to be on,” he said. “Signing a deal like this is a part of the puzzle, part of the puzzle to get us to Omaha.”