Swoosh! U-M returns to Nike with major apparel deal
MARTIN VLOET Associated Press
2005 Michigan football jerseys, by Nike
2005 Michigan football jerseys, by Nike less
After years of pleas and months of speculation, Michigan's athletic department is heading back to Nike.
From the moment U-M signed a sponsorship agreement with Adidas in 2007, there has been a behind-the-scenes clamor for a return to the swoosh. Today, Michigan announced that it has signed an agreement with Nike. re-establishing the connection that shook the industry with a seven-year, $5.7-million deal in 1994.
The new agreement, which will begin after U-M's Adidas contract ends July 31, 2016, will make that figure seem quaint.
The agreement runs into 2027, with an option to extend it to 2031.
— UniversityofMichigan (@UMich) July 6, 2015
U-M will be able to use Jordan Brand "Jumpman" apparel and footwear for men's and women's basketball, a benefit not available to all Nike partners.
"After careful consideration, the right partner for the University of Michigan was Nike," interim athletic director Jim Hackett said in a released statement. "This decision, this partnership is about more than Michigan athletics; at the core, it is about our university community and it is about two great names reuniting for an opportunity that speaks to more than uniforms and apparel.
"Nike is a recognized leader in its field when it comes to product innovation and we look forward to future collaboration."
Michigan initially received $6.85 million per year from Adidas, and that figure has been pushed higher by other schools' new deals. U-M's contract included the "most favored nation" clause, meaning U-M always would be brought up to the level of any new Adidas contract.
According to a 2014 survey by the Portland Business Journal, U-M's Adidas deal was valued at $8.2 million per year.
The most recent apparel landmark was Notre Dame flipping to Under Armour in January 2014, for a reported 10 years and $90 million. (Notre Dame is a private school, and its contract with Under Armour is not public.)
That set the bar for U-M.
Hockey coach Berenson glad U-M is back with Nike
until July 1 to extend its Adidas deal for five years under the previous terms. Otherwise, it would enter a 30-day window before losing those rights.
But because of U-M's marketability -- its teams regularly are among the highest-rated on television, despite its seven-year football lull -- Hackett and his team visited Under Armour in Baltimore and Adidas and Nike in Oregon in May. wooed by each.
Hackett had started the public ball rolling when, on April 1, he told U-M students that the school was evaluating its options for a new apparel deal. Part of his process was to survey current and former athletes to see what they prefer and, though he didn't speak about those results, many athletes over the years have indicated a preference for Nike.
One of the primary questions simply was how much Nike would pay U-M in the combination of cash and apparel. According to the Portland Business Journal survey, Nike's biggest deal was with Florida State, at $4.4 million per year.
"The University of Michigan ranks high among the world's great institutions of higher learning and enjoys a rich, tradition-laden history in college sports," said Joaquin Hidalgo, vice president and general manager of Nike North America, in a released statement. "Nike is especially proud to partner with the Wolverines and have the opportunity once again to work with Michigan student-athletes, coaches, and staff. We eagerly look forward to bringing out the best in each other,"
In the conversation with students, Hackett said that all football shoes will be black, the way Jim Harbaugh wants them. Last year, U-M players wore maize shoes in the Penn State game.
Adidas drew attacks as Michigan debuted significant football uniform changes in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. But many of those changes were initiated and approved by U-M's athletic department.
Some of the most common complaints were about the color of Michigan's "maize" under Adidas, which often appeared more yellow, even neon, such as the basketball team's full maize uniforms and shoes in 2013.
Tennessee also switched from Adidas to Nike this year, reportedly with an eight-year deal for $4 million per year.
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