Adidas is the official outfitter of the Grand Valley State athletics. This means an exclusive relationship wherein other brands cannot be associated by with GVSU Lakers. The athletic department of GVSU being a direct school spends a specific amount each year but receives promotional merchandise from Adidas with 50% off the price of apparel, 45% off footwear and incentive-based performance bonuses the GVSU athletic teams.
The GVSU Lakers has partnered with Adidas since 2004 but only as a direct school since 2012. There are 3 major distinctions in the college athletic apparel deals: licensed schools, direct schools and team schools. Licensed schools like major universities in Michigan, Oregon and Texas receive large amounts of money for the Adidas brand to be associated with the university. Direct schools have to pay a specific amount yearly in exchange for benefits and perks. The third tier is team school like GVSU until 2012. Team schools have to get their apparel from retailers not directly from Adidas.
The Grand Valley State athletic department has renewed its contract with Adidas until March 31, 2024 for consistency across all the GVSU teams. Fans who have attended football games last fall has certainly noticed the slick new uniforms of GVSU teams which they will be wearing for the next 3 or 4 years. Adidas uniforms have a shelf life of 3 years before they are replaced.
GVSU has creative input on the uniform designs with the coaches of each team working with the athletic department to ensure eye-catching uniform combinations. From the standpoint of marketing, when the uniforms are at the forefront, they become promotional merchandise.
The primary vision of GVSU athletic team is to outfit the teams with a uniform possible across all sports from jersey fonts to color for equality. The partnership with Adidas has allowed the vision to come true. Not only does Adidas provide greater consistencyacross the entire athletic department; the company has provided quality products to compete in, train in like a football-student athlete. If a GVSU athlete wears a non-Adidas item during a sports event, there could be serious consequences. However, safeguards are in place and this situation is unlikely to happen.