It’s safe to say that UCLA and Under Armour have some rather significant issues through which to work.
First, a little apparel financial history:
In July of 2015, Michigan’s reported apparel deal with Nike set a then-record of $169 million over 15 years (the final figure came in at just shy of $174 million).
Four months after U-M’s new deal was reported, news surfaced that Texas’ new contract with Nike would be worth $250 million over 15 years. In January of 2016, Ohio State announced its new deal with Nike, an agreement that would pay that school upwards of $252 million over 15 years. Four months after that OSU deal? There was a new record-holder as UCLA, of all schools, reached an agreement with Under Armour, of all companies, on a 15-year, $280 million apparel deal.
Fast-forward more than four years, and the world finds itself in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic. And, it seems, it’s helped accelerate some spender’s remorse on Under Armour’s part as the apparel company is seeking to terminate its deal with UCLA.
Below is the apparel company’s release:
Under Armour has recently made the difficult decision to discontinue our partnership with UCLA, as we have been paying for marketing benefits that we have not received for an extended time period. The agreement allows us to terminate in such an event and we are exercising that right.
We know this has been a challenging time for athletes, sports programs and apparel brands alike. Under Armour will continue to preserve our strength in this challenging environment, while maintaining a strong network of partnership with individuals, organizations and leagues that make us the on-field authority for focused performers.
The Pac-12 school, though, won’t go quietly into the apparel night.
“UCLA Athletics learned this week that Under Armour is attempting to terminate its 15-year apparel and footwear contract with us and the Bruin community. We are exploring all our options to resist Under Armour’s actions,” the school’s soon-to-be-retired athletic director, Dan Guerrero, said in a statement. “We remain committed to providing our hard-working staff and student-athletes with the footwear, apparel and equipment needed to train and compete at the highest level, as they — and our loyal Bruin fans — deserve.”
Given the revenue the athletic department will more than likely lose already due to the pandemic, they won’t easily give up this money.