Adidas becomes official athletic sponsor

After a year and a half of negotiations, Westminster signed a three-year contract with
Adidas. Contrary to popular belief, Adidas is the first official athletic sponsor in Westminster
history. Athletic director Tim Downes rejected rumors that Nike has been the official sponsor
throughout the past couple years.
“All the individual coaches of the Varsity programs manage the budgets and purchasing
for their teams, so they did that through their own vendor,” said Downes. “None of them had a
contract with an apparel company.”
If the uniforms of a particular team were Nike, then it was the coach’s decision to choose
that brand. Nike is popular among students when choosing their non-uniform athletic wear, so
many were confused why Adidas was chosen as a sponsor. Junior Anna Bass expressed her
frustration with the prospect of Adidas uniforms.
“I really like the comfort and style of Nike more than Adidas,” said Bass. “I feel like
Adidas is more concerned with flashing their logo and less with the quality and standard of the
While students like Bass doubt the quality of the new Adidas gear, only a few sports
teams have actually had the opportunity to try the clothing for themselves.
“Swimming, both basketball teams, and the squash teams have already received new
uniforms,” said Downes.
Junior Gillian Gracey, a member of the State Championship swim team, was among the
first to wear the new sweats.
“The sweats that they gave us for swimming are really cool,” said Gracey. “They’re
pretty lightweight and the design was amazing”
The contract was effective January 1, 2019, so students in other sports should expect new
uniforms over the next three years. While the contract is relatively new, administrators spent
months discussing the details of the deal. Downes explained the stages of development.
“It involved Catbackers, the student athlete advisor group, coaches, the business office,
the bookstore, and a few other groups,” said Downes. “Everyone who had a stake in this deal had
an opportunity to share opinions.”
Even deciding to settle on Adidas took lots of consideration.
“There are only three companies that can equip an athletic department: Nike, Adidas, and
Under Armour,” said Downes. “Adidas was the one that could, as far as their presentation and
proposal, allow us to replace every single uniform in the entire program.”
Replacing uniforms was a main goal of the contract. Downes explains how this is
essential for sports teams that have been recycling uniforms for many years.
“We had softball uniforms that were as old as 10 years,” said Downes.
Bass described the similar issue with JV Lacrosse jerseys.
“Those uniforms looked like they were from the 1900s,” said Bass.
In addition to freshening up the uniforms, another goal of that contract was to make the
athletic appearance more consistent.
“We wanted consistency in presentation,” said Downes. “If you’re working with one
vendor, then colors will be consistent, appearance will be consistent, and it is of interest for the entire program.”
When the Girls’ Varsity Tennis Team received its new uniforms, some players noticed a
change in the color palette and overall design of the uniform. In the past years, the athletes
played in green skirts. The new uniforms include gray shorts, and the writing on the tank top is
also in gray. This uniform contains little green, a signature color of the school. Junior Sydney
Hunter commented on the color switch.
“I feel like I’m not representing Westminster anymore,” said Hunter.
Even though green is still a primary school color, there is a renewed emphasis on the
other colors.
“Coaches work with the vendor to design the uniforms for their teams,” said Downes.
“They use a style guide, containing the cat head and the logos, to remain consistent among
teams. With these uniforms, the highlight color is gray.”
With the new deal, athletes also have the opportunity to buy new clothing through online
“This year, we’re getting Boathouses and new sweats that we didn’t get last year,” said
Since the Catbackers Association served as a financial partner and worked to secure
grants, Downes explained how the contract benefits families financially.
“With our ability to do this with uniforms, one of the things it’s doing is to take pressure
off operating budgets that will allow us to cover more of the essentials with participation in a
program,” said Downes. “It takes financial pressure off parents to have to buy stuff that is
required for participation in a program, which is great.”
Buying gear for sports like lacrosse or football can easily add up to a few hundred
Downes also explained the benefit of buying power.
“Since every program is using one vendor, because they’re getting all of our business,
you get really big discounts,” said Downes.
Because the contract only last three years, there is opportunity for change in the future.
“We will take a look at everything again in three years, and we may have a different
reason then for re-evaluating the uniforms than we do now.”