Campus Sports Markets: BC-BU Hockey; BC + Under Armour

A college sports edition of campus entrepreneurship for y’all. Yesterday, the WSJ feature an article by Neal E. Boudette exploring the life-long rivalry between the current Boston College and Boston University men’s hockey coaches. Here is how the story opens:

On New Year’s Eve in 1962, Jack Parker and Jerry York lined up against each other in a high-school ice-hockey game — and started a rivalry that has become one of the most extraordinary in college sports.

After high school, Mr. Parker played at Boston University and Mr. York at Boston College. Mr. Parker later became the coach at BU, and Mr. York at BC.

Now, after nearly half a century of going toe-to-toe, each man’s success is unexcelled — and they are still fierce competitors. Mr. York has accumulated more wins — 827 — than any other active college coach. Mr. Parker is only seven wins behind him.

The piece goes on to detail the intensity of the rivalry and some of the amazing feats of each man and his respective University. It also reminds us of the important role that athletics play in the modern campus marketplace.

One of the reasons that the campus is the frontier of entrepreneurship in the US is that it is a huge market in its own right and can either support full ventures or serve as a proving ground for various products (Gatorade) and services (FedEx & Kinkos individually, though now joined together as FedEx Kinkos).

The sports submarket of the campus market is huge in its own right, complex, and based on passion that sports can and does inspire in fans and from time to time the masses of casual observers.

In related campus sports market news, Boston College and Under Armour (founded by one of the most succesfull campus entrepreneurs of the last 15 years, Kevin Plan) have inked a deal whereby UA will become the schools exclusive and offical athletic apparel provider.

This is the latest aggressive move by Under Armour in declaring its goal to be a global sports brand. Reebok, which is based in Boston, is currently the exclusive provider for BC and can be none too pleased by Under Armour’s move into its backyard — not to mention taking a high profile partner.

From an article in the Boston Herald by Christine McConville,

Under Armour has scored a touchdown in the collegiate apparel game – and beaten out a local company on its home turf.

The Baltimore-based athletic gear company topped Canton-based sportsgear maker Reebok and won a lucrative, six-year deal to outfit Boston College’s athletes.

In July 2010, Under Armour – that tight-fitting, moisture-wicking clothing preferred by very fit athletes – will become the exclusive official outfitter for BC’s football and basketball squads, and 29 other varsity teams.

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