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Sports Business

Colts' Luck to do more than merely pitch Klipsch products

August 19, 2013
KEYWORDS Sports Business

Andrew Luck has proved he’s a quality NFL quarterback. Now the Colts’ second-year signal caller is poised to demonstrate he learned more than football at Stanford University, where he majored in architecture.

Luck today announced he signed a multi-year deal to pitch products for Klipsch, an Indianapolis-based maker of speakers, headphones and other audio products.

But this is no ordinary sponsorship agreement. Luck told IBJ Monday that he will help design products for Klipsch that likely will bear his name.

“A big part of this deal is a development piece,” Luck said. “I look forward to corroborating with the development folks at Klipsch.”

Luck emphasized that during the season his primary focus will be on football, but added that “during the off-season I’d like to get together [with Klipsch officials] and put my architecture degree to use.”

Luck explained that in several of his architecture classes at Stanford he studied design, development and “other creative elements” he hopes will help him in his quest to develop audio technologies.

Luck was unaware of Klipsch until he signed last year with the Colts.

“On one of my first days in the Colts weight room, I heard this really loud, but really clear sounding music, and I looked up at the speakers and they said ‘Klipsch,’” Luck said. “I thought, wow, this really sounds good even though it’s ear-splitting.”

Klipsch was immediately appealing, Luck said, because it was a local company with a quality product.

“I love technology. Having gone to Stanford, being in sort of the Silicon Valley, you develop an appreciation for technology,” Luck said. “Klipsch is quality technology. And I want to be affiliated with quality.”

The local element was just as important. For one, Luck won’t have to fly all over the country to work with Klipsch, which will allow him to keep a tight focus on football.

Luck and his agent, Will Wilson, approached Klipsch last off-season about doing a deal. Luck said he will likely appear in Klipsch commercials, but not until after this season is over. Luck also said he signed “a couple” of other sponsorship deals during the last off-season and those will be announced in coming weeks and months. He declined to say which companies those deals were with.

“It has to be quality and it has to be with products I use,” he said, noting that Klipsch head phones always accompany him on the road. “I want to be able to relate what [the product] means to me.”

It’s also important to Luck that his sponsors be interested in helping his charitable causes; which right now are primarily Riley Hospital and the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. Luck said those details are being worked out with Klipsch.

Luck said he won’t start his own foundation for a couple of years so he can focus on Riley and literacy.

Some sports marketers think Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, is underachieving as a sports marketer, trailing far behind fellow second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III and other NFL stars.

Luck is unfazed by the criticism, saying he wanted to prove himself on the field before taking on numerous sponsors. And while his off-the-field demands increase, Luck said it hasn’t really been too difficult to manage.

“I have a great team around me that continues to remind me football is the reason I’m here,” Luck said. “Football is the reason I’ve been given these other opportunities and that’s where my focus needs to be.”

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