Under Armour is attempting to terminate its 15-year $280 million apparel and footwear deal with the University of California, Los Angeles.
“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 company said in a statement. “The agreement allows us to terminate in such an event and we are exercising that right.”
Under Armour’s statement also obliquely referenced the COVID-19 pandemic, which suspended nearly all U.S. professional and amateur sports.
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“We know that this has been a challenging time for athletes, sports programs and performance apparel brands alike,” it said. “Under Armour will continue to preserve our strength in this challenging environment, while maintaining a strong network of partnerships with individuals, organizations and leagues that make us the on-field authority for focused performers.”
UCLA said in a statement that it learned of Under Armour’s intentions last week and would be working to prevent it from happening.
“We are exploring all our options to resist Under Armour’s actions,” UCLA’s statement said. “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.”
The deal between Under Armour and UCLA set a record as the biggest collegiate apparel deal ever when it was announced in May 2016. It officially went into effect in July 2017, when UCLA’s deal with Adidas ended.
Until the UCLA deal, Nike held the previous record with a 15-year $252 million deal with Ohio State that was agreed to in Jan. 2016.
Nike holds some of the largest collegiate deals, including a 15-year $250 million partnership with the University of Texas and an 11-year deal worth about $169 million with the University of Michigan.
Under Armour still has a 10-year $86 million deal with the University of California, Berkeley that was signed in April 2016.
Ahiza García-Hodges covers the intersection of media, tech, sports and business.