The University of Kentucky men’s basketball program will be Hyperice’s first foray into college sports partnerships after a slew of professional deals.
Hyperice will serve as Kentucky’s Official Recovery Technology Partner in a multiyear deal announced Dec. 10.
“Once they saw the NBA deal, they expressed a lot of interest in replicating what we did there in making the technology available on the sideline,” Dan Canina, Hyperice’s director of global performance, told Front Office Sports.
“We jumped at the opportunity to do something a little bit bigger than we are doing with most other [college] programs given who the University of Kentucky basketball is,” Canina added.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although it comes as college programs have sought new revenue streams with COVID-19 creating a budget crunch at athletic departments across the nation.
In June, Kentucky projected a 2020-21 budget that was 17% below the prior fiscal year.
Canina said Kentucky’s head athletic trainer Geoffrey Staton and Hall of Fame head coach John Calipari are fans of Hyperice products, including those developed by NormaTec. Hyperice acquired NormaTec in March.
“We did some things with Coach Cal to get him some of his own technology,” Canina said. “He’s a big proponent of all of our tech to make sure all of his players are using it on a daily basis.”
Canina said Hyperice could do similar college partnerships with “a couple programs.”
“I am hoping and we are expecting that by using the University of Kentucky as a platform to jump off of in the world of the NCAA, we have teams saying, ‘This is a recruiting tool. This is something we have to make sure we are doing for student athletes to attract better talent from the high school level,’” Canina said.
Hyperice’s brand ambassadors are also investors, a list that includes Naomi Osaka, Patrick Mahomes, J.J. Watt and DeAndre Jordan.
Under the name, image, and likeness rules expected to be adopted in 2021, NCAA athletes would be allowed to sign endorsement deals.
“I don’t know if something we would look at,” Canina said when asked about partnering with a college athlete. “Those athlete ambassadors were really surrounding a recent round of investment in Hyperice. Outside of that, we don’t really have any sort of ambassador program where we have athletes that we are sponsoring or paying to endorse the brand.”
[Editor’s note: SC.Holdings, which participated in Hyperice’s last funding round, is an investor in Front Office Sports.]