Michigan Goes Adidas As Nike Runs Out On Big Blue

I never, ever thought I would write that headline. But I just did. The University of Michigan has signed an eight-year deal, worth a $7.5 million a year with the three stripers.

Nike bowing out of the game is either an indication that Nike doesn’t think Michigan is what it once was--although football has had three 10+ win seasons in five years, the basketball team hasn’t made it to the title game in 14 years and hasn’t even made the NCAA Tournament in nine years. Or it’s further confirmation that adidas is very serious about making strides in the U.S. They of course bought Reebok--and as of now, we’ll call that alliance a work in progress--and then they took over the NBA apparel deal.

Before Michigan signed a $1 million a year deal with Nike in 1994, school deals really didn’t exist. Michigan’s football and basketball teams were wearing Russell gear and Nike shoes (since the early 80s), but the shoe and apparel companies didn’t really see much value on the licensing/merchandising side. Instead, these companies would directly pay the coach for a deal.

Logos on jerseys also didn’t exist. Many people forget might forget that the “Fab Five,” which played their last games at Michigan in 1993 didn’t have any logos on their ridiculously long shorts. Michigan merchandise was the fourth best selling from January to March 2007, among all the colleges represented by the Collegiate Licensing Company. Royalties earned by Michigan were only trumped by the University of Texas, Notre Dame and the University of Florida.

A note to Michigan, only one adidas school has ever won the BCS National Championship (Tennessee in 1998). And, at least according to my research, no adidas school - for as long as logos have appeared on college apparel -- has ever won the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Here is how the Michigan deal sizes up with some other schools:

SchoolBrand TimeValue
NDAdidas10 yr.$60 M
MichiganAdidas8 yr.$60 M
UNCNike8 yr.$28.34 M
KansasAdidas8 yr.$26.67 M
AuburnUnder Armour 5 yr.$10.5 M
Va. Tech Nike8 yr.$ 9.7 M

A tip of the hat to Jonathan Kichaven at Lion In Oil for making sure I covered this today.

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