Univ. Of Washington Could Leave Nike For Better Apparel Deal In '19
The Univ. of Washington is "on the brink of a massive new apparel deal that could be a game-changer on multiple fronts," and UW AD Jennifer Cohen said she expects to close a deal by early-to-mid May, according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. UW’s current contract with Nike "expires June 30, 2019 and pays the school approximately" $3.6M annually in cash and product. The new agreement is "expected to last at least 10 years, based on current industry standards." A source said the "stars are aligned" for UW, and the school should get $10M annually "in their sleep.” Nike has "controlled apparel and footwear sales" in the Pac-12's Northwest corner for decades, often "using its dominance to pay less-than-market rate with the major universities in the area." But Adidas is "flush with cash, looking to spend and limited in its options." Oregon is tied to Nike through co-Founder & Chair Emeritus Phil Knight, while Washington State and Oregon State are "locked into Nike deals" into the middle of the '20s. For Adidas, it is the "Huskies or bust." Under Armor "might not play a central role" in the UW negotiations. Since signing the UCLA deal, its business has "deteriorated, dragging the stock price down with it." If UW is "willing to accept the best offer on the table -- if they’re willing to walk away from the Swoosh -- the cash will follow" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 3/29).