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A COVETED PAC OF BEARS: NIKE AND ADIDAS VIE FOR UCLA RIGHTS
Published August 19, 1998
UCLA "has emerged as the latest endorsement battleground" between Nike and adidas, who want to outfit all 21 of the school's intercollegiate athletic teams, according to Jeff Manning of the Portland OREGONIAN. UCLA Assoc. AD Glenn Toth said that an agreement in principle "is imminent," and although he wouldn't comment on the talks, Manning reported that adidas "is cautiously optimistic." Incumbent Reebok, which held UCLA rights since '93, but dropped out of the bidding last month, will still outfit UCLA teams throughout this school year. Reebok VP/Sports Marketing John Frascotti: "The cost of these deals has gotten out of proportion to the value they convey." Manning reported Nike is also reducing its endorsement spending, creating a $5.6M fund to "exit" endorsement contracts. But Nike has made it clear that its cuts will come in sports it considers "non core," and UCLA is "central to Nike's heritage." Manning added that adidas "badly wants a West- Coast and Pac-10 presence," as its four major universities are all located west of the Rockies (OREGONIAN, 8/18).