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As VICIS ventures into youth football, teams and parents are forced to confront the cost

Evan Webeck, The Seattle Times on

Published in Science & Technology News

Getting the VICIS helmets on the heads of every, or even many, players below the college level, where seven-figure budgets turn into four- and five-figure budgets, presents another challenge.

Private schools have been the primary adopters so far: O'Dea, Bishop Blanchet, Eastside Catholic. Mercer Island, an affluent public school, too.

Across the country, players at more than 1,200 high schools will wear the VICIS Zero1 in 2019, but most are individually purchased. One California school district ordered 400 helmets -- but it was funded by a large donation. According to one sales rep, many high schools won't even hear the presentation. Those that do often come back for more the next year.

As it has expanded, VICIS has nearly halved the cost of its adult helmet, which started at $1,500 and can now be had in bulk for around $700 each. Marver expects that to continue. The three-year-old start-up also has its own foundation to help curb costs.

"Our prices are always going to be more than the competition because we have so much more engineering and R&D in them," he said. "But it's very important to us that they're still affordable. We'd like to be 10-20% more expensive (than the competition), ultimately."

 

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