Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck on Tuesday will announce his first local sponsorship deal, a four-year pact with Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.
Luck and Riley officials said the initiative is aimed at helping improve the health and wellness of area children. The Riley/Luck “Change the Play” initiative will include programs such as sports performance camps, educational tools for kids and Luck speaking engagements.
Luck will be paid to promote the hospital and the initiative, but financial terms were not disclosed.
“I know the importance of having good role models in your life,” said Luck said in a prepared statement. “As a kid I was fortunate that my parents embraced a healthy lifestyle and encouraged us to be physically and mentally active, using sport as play. They taught us the benefit of exercise, good nutrition and informed decision-making, which helped me develop a strong foundation. I believe that by working with Riley, we can help make that kind of difference in the lives of Indiana kids, and I am looking forward to it.’
Luck won't be the first Colts quarterback to partner with a hospital. Peyton Manning, who departed the Colts last off-season for Denver, signed one of his first local deals as a professional football player in 1998 with St. Vincent Hospital.
Manning's deal with St. Vincent grew over the years until the hospital's children's facility was named the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent in 2007.
Manning's association with St. Vincent over the years included sponsoring monthly events, visiting patients and serving as spokesman for various child health and safety initiatives. Many of the rooms are decorated with Manning memorabilia. Despite his move to Denver, Manning still remains active with St. Vincent.
Ironically, St. Vincent used its association with Manning to try to chip away at Riley's market share in children's and pediatric care.
Riley officials expect Luck to be just as active with their hospital and programs.
Riley officials and Luck said they aim to motivate children by giving them the information and tools necessary to make healthy choices throughout their lives.
“This is an ambitious goal, but if anyone can make a difference, I believe it will be Riley and Andrew working together,” Dr. Jeff Sperring, president and CEO of Riley at IU Health said in a prepared statement. "In addition to caring for our patients, we want to see all Hoosier kids grow healthier, stronger, happier. We feel it’s our responsibility to give every child access to the best information and advice, and Andrew is a great role model. He has a lot of great ideas and infectious enthusiasm, and we’re looking forward to shaping this program together.”
Luck's first off-the-field deal has been much anticipated, locally and nationally.
While Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, has so far largely eschewed commercial deals, Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, has signed several major endorsement deals including those with Gatorade and Subway sandwich shops.
Luck has said he wanted to focus on football and learning the Colts playbook before signing off-the-field agreements, adding that he thinks he should prove himself on the field before venturing into endorsements.
After leading the Colts to four wins in his first seven outings as starter, Luck is being mentioned as a possible rookie-of-the-year candidate.
He is also showing that he might be ready to step up his off-the-field activities.
Luck this month signed a multi-year deal with Panini Authentic that gives the Italy-based company exclusive autograph and memorabilia rights. The multi-year agreement extends to items such as photos, jerseys and helmets. It does not give Panini exclusive rights to autographed Andrew Luck trading cards.
Memorabilia from Luck's first signing went on sale Oct. 15 at the Panini Authentic website.
Luck is the first NFL player to sign an exclusive deal with the brand, joining the likes of NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin.
“We've been waiting for just the right player to spearhead Panini Authentic's expansion into other sports,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. “Andrew Luck is that player.”