UCLA Said to Agree to $280 Million Contract With Under Armour

  • Los Angeles school has been sponsored by Adidas since 1999
  • Deal is richest in college sports, according to Under Armour

The University of California, Los Angeles has signed a 15-year apparel contract with Under Armour Inc. valued at $280 million, according to people familiar with the agreement.

The pact represents the biggest college sports apparel deal yet, as Nike Inc., Adidas AG and Under Armour vie to place their logos on athletes and fans. In the past year alone, Nike signed Ohio State to a 15-year deal worth $252 million, Texas to a 15-year deal worth $250 million, and Michigan to an 11-year deal worth $169 million.

This contract is bigger on a per-year basis and in total. It also eclipses the 2014 deal between Under Armour and Notre Dame, which included an unspecified equity stake in the Baltimore-based apparel giant.

UCLA is one of the country’s richest and most successful athletic programs, with an NCAA-record 112 team titles, including 11 men’s basketball championships. Its 43,000-member student body and large international population also appeal to Under Armour, which is expanding on the West Coast and and overseas. In April, the apparel company inked a 10-year deal with the University of California, Berkeley, reportedly worth $86 million.

Nike Territory

“This gives UA a highly visible and lucrative California presence -- until now a Nike stronghold,” said Bob Dorfman, executive creative director of Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco.

Under Armour replaces Adidas, the school’s apparel sponsor for almost two decades, in July 2017. All 25 of UCLA’s varsity programs, the band and the spirit dancers will wear Under Armour apparel and footwear. In addition, the company is committing to open more retail locations across Los Angeles, including near UCLA’s main campus in Westwood.

The boom in apparel contracts, though concentrated mainly on the premier athletic programs, has begun to trickle down to smaller schools. This year Under Armour signed Yale, an Ivy League program whose football team doesn’t compete in the postseason, to a 10-year deal worth $16.5 million. That was more than preexisting Nike deals in place for Big Ten schools Rutgers and Illinois.

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