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Volume 20 No. 42
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Penguins motivated to sign Crons

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed a one-year partnership with Crons, a Pittsburgh-based uniform and apparel company that produces clothing emblazoned with motivational messages. Under the deal, which makes Crons the official motivational brand of the Penguins, Crons will sell its active wear at PensGear team stores in Consol Energy Center.

Crons will also sell its branded protein nutrition bars at concession stands in the arena, and the company will become the presenting sponsor of the Penguins’ youth hockey camps.

Representatives from Crons and the Penguins declined to discuss terms of the deal, but sources familiar with the deal valued it in the low-six-figure range.

“The inspirational message Crons is conveying really resonates with the youth camps,” said David Peart, Penguins senior vice president of sales and service. “Being able to connect them with amateur athletes was appealing to them.”

The partnership is the largest to date for Crons, which is an acronym for “Come Ready or Never Start.” The company was founded in 2005 by former University of Pittsburgh football and basketball player Pat Cavanaugh. Crons produces championship apparel for the Big South, Colonial Athletic Association and Atlantic 10 collegiate conferences, and provides uniforms and active wear to 500 high schools and regional colleges, such as Bethany College in West Virginia and Penn State Altoona. It also produces uniforms for the Baltimore Mariners arena football team as well as the Orlando Magic’s junior NBA program.

Active wear from Pittsburgh-based Crons will be sold at PensGear team stores in Consol Energy Center.
Sotiris Aggelou, vice president of brand development for Crons, said the association with the youth hockey camps was a major selling point. The Penguins’ camps attract 6,000 to 7,000 youth players every year. Crons will provide camp-branded jerseys for youth players and athletic wear for coaches and staff.

Aggelou said the company hopes the Penguins deal leads to further local partnerships with NBA and NHL teams. “It’s a big step for us to get into professional sports,” Aggelou said. “We are coming up with creative motivational sayings that are appropriate to hockey.”

The NHL has allowed teams to sign local licensing deals with apparel manufacturers since 1990. The NHL declined to comment on the deal, but a league source said team jerseys and outerwear such as jackets and sweatshirts are exclusive to the league’s partnership with Reebok. Local apparel partners can brand active wear and casual clothing, such as T-shirts, the source said, but all logos must be approved by the league.

The league approved the logos that will appear on the jerseys to be worn by Penguins youth hockey players, the source said.

Aggelou said the company has yet to decide details of its apparel line, but it will probably sell between six and 12 individual pieces of active wear, including sweat-wicking clothing designed for exercise. The clothing will incorporate team colors and will feature the Penguins logo. Crons will also offer limited-edition active wear to Penguins season-ticket holders.

In addition, Crons will sell four flavors of its “Come Ready” protein bars at concession stands. It will also receive signs in the arena and on the Penguins website.

In 2010, the Penguins signed local apparel deals with Reebok, G-III and ’47 Brand, and all three brands sell products at Consol Energy Center.