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Volume 26 No. 48
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Under Armour Taking Over UCLA Apparel Rights With Most Lucrative College Deal

Under Armour this afternoon will unveil a landmark footwear and apparel deal with UCLA worth an estimated $280M over 15 years, marking the most lucrative deal in college sports, according to industry sources. UCLA's new deal in annual cash, signing bonus and gear is expected to surpass the massive 15-year, $252M deal Ohio State signed with Nike in January. UA by summer '17 will replace adidas, which has held UCLA's apparel and footwear rights since '99. Sources said that as part of the deal, UA will open two brand stores in the L.A. market. One source said UCLA was particularly disappointed that so little of its product could be found at the adidas store in Santa Monica. But ultimately, UA's big win in Westwood came down to an unprecedented financial and gear commitment. Sources said that the deal could be worth close to $20M annually for UCLA. The deal also culminates a huge five-week period for UA, which won the rights at Cal last month with a 10-year, $86M agreement. UA also has affiliations in the state with Warriors G and NBA MVP Stephen Curry and Giants C Buster Posey. Meanwhile, adidas' cachet continues to falter. The brand earlier this year lost Michigan to Nike, the latest defection in recent years that includes Tennessee (Nike) and Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Northwestern (UA). The UCLA-UA deal also represents another major financial victory for the school's budget. UCLA AD Dan Guerrero in August negotiated a multimedia rights renewal with IMG College worth nearly $15M a year, making it one of the five wealthiest deals of its kind in the country. Now Guerrero has closed the most lucrative shoe and apparel deal (Lefton & Smith, Staff Writers).

GO WEST, YOUNG MAN: In L.A. David Wharton reports UA was "looking to add a major West Coast program" in addition to Cal to its roster of schools, which includes Notre Dame, Auburn, Wisconsin and Maryland. UA Founder, Chair & CEO Kevin Plank said, “This deal was about geography. It was important for us to plant our flag in L.A.” Wharton notes high-profile athletic programs on the West Coast are “especially attractive if only because they are in short supply.” A source said that UCLA will receive $15M in cash up front and will subsequently be paid approximately $11M annually in “rights and marketing fees.” UA “has agreed to supply” about $7.4M worth of “clothing, shoes and equipment each school year.” The company also will contribute $2M “over the next eight years for upgrades at facilities such as the Morgan Center and the Acosta Athletic Complex.” UCLA has “expressed interest in seeing new ideas, particularly when it comes to hoodies, T-shirts and hats sold to fans.” There might also be “room for alternative uniforms worn in a limited number of games.” The school has “retained final say on any creative changes.” Guerrero said, “We knew that we were well-positioned to cut a deal. Under Armour came at us hard” (LATIMES.com, 5/24).