SBD/March 21, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Ohio State Inks 10-Year, $12M Partnership With Lids After Fanatics Deal Falls Through

Lids Sports Group on Thursday announced a 10-year deal to become the official retail partner of Ohio State Univ. Athletics. The licensing agreement includes rights to operate OSU's official e-commerce site, on-campus retail locations, arena-stadium retail and all gameday concessions. In addition, Lids' Buckeye Corner locations now become the official stores of OSU Athletics (Lids Sports Group). In Columbus, Tim Feran reports the contract is worth $12M over the length of the deal and "reverses an agreement" that the school made in November '12 with Fanatics Inc. The Jacksonville-based retailer "originally won the bidding to sell OSU-licensed apparel online and in campus retail outlets." However, school officials in January said that the deal with Fanatics "had not been completed -- and that the role that Fanatics had been expected to play had been taken over by Lids" in July '13. OSU Senior Dir of Media & PR Gary Lewis has indicated that the Lids deal "took so long to nail down because there had been 'no models or precedents to look at.'" Feran notes the contract with Lids guarantees OSU a minimum of $1.2M a year from "retail sales at campus outlets such as the team shop at Schottenstein Center and Ohio Stadium, and from the official website." That was "well above the university’s previous yearly revenue from those sales of about $250,000" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 3/21).
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