SBD/February 3, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Top Of The Mountain: Tennessee Athletics Praised By Coaches, Fans For New Nike Deal

Univ. of Tennessee athletics will "drop its partnership with adidas and switch to Nike in July 2015 for an eight-year deal" that is worth around $35M and could "bring even more money to UT," according to Ben Frederickson of the KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL. The "department-wide deal" will net UT $7.6M in cash, along with a $2M signing bonus, $23.7M in Nike products and another $1.6M in services. Other performance-based bonuses "mentioned in the contract released by the school could increase that total." Among the bonuses UT would receive from Nike include $100,000 for winning the college football national championship, $50,000 for an NCAA men's basketball championship and $15,000 for an NCAA women's basketball title. The switch will "sever UT's partnership with adidas, which the Vols and Lady Vols have worn" since '97. That contract, which is an "extension of one signed in 2004, ends on June 30, 2015." UT is the second "high-profile college athletics program to sever ties with adidas during this college football offseason," joining Notre Dame, which announced plans to switch from adidas to Under Armour (KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL, 2/1). In Chattanooga, Patrick Brown noted the reaction to UT's announcement was "overwhelmingly positive from former and current football and basketball players, recruits and fans, who won't be able to purchase officially licensed Tennessee gear from Nike until the contract begins." UT football coach Butch Jones said he was "very excited" about the partnership. Another coach described adidas as "'unprofessional' and praised Tennessee's decision to switch apparel partners as an upgrade" (CHATTANOOGA TIMES FREE PRESS, 2/1).
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