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Volume 21 No. 1
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Under Armour will outfit NLL

Under Armour has enjoyed a strong presence in youth lacrosse for years, and now the apparel and shoe brand is moving into the pro game.

The National Lacrosse League has struck a three-year deal that will make Under Armour the league’s official apparel, footwear and equipment provider. Under Armour replaces Reebok, which had held that position with the NLL for the past eight years. The league is expected to announce the new arrangement this week. Financial specifics were not available.

In addition to outfitting the players with Under Armour gear, the brand will have a significant sideline presence. The deal does not include actual uniforms, but it does put the brand on padding, sticks and other performance apparel, giving Under Armour the most significant position in the league.

“Under Armour is a powerful brand that we’re excited to work with,” said NLL Commissioner George Daniel.

The Under Armour news caps off a busy offseason for Daniel. He negotiated a new collective-bargaining agreement with the players for seven more years, which included expanding the regular-season schedule from 16 games to 18.

One of the league’s nine teams, the Washington Stealth, relocated north from Everett, Wash., to Vancouver. Everett proved to be too remote and the Stealth’s attendance average of 4,184, the lowest in the league, reflected it, Daniel said. The franchise will play at the Langley Events Centre, about 20 miles east of Vancouver.

With what Daniel considers to be a strong base of established teams — Philadelphia, Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y., have been around for 20-plus years — and a new CBA, the NLL will keep its eyes open for expansion opportunities. Daniel has mentioned Detroit, Pittsburgh and New York as attractive markets for the league.

“We’ve got some stability now and it’s a good time to be active and expand the league,” he said.

Daniel sees expansion as a key to attracting more sponsors and perhaps a new TV deal. The NLL’s package with CBS Sports Network was not renewed, and the league will rely on regional networks to carry its syndicated package of games in the U.S. All games will be streamed on the Lacrosse Network on YouTube as well.

The 2013-14 season begins on Dec. 28 and runs through May.