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Apparel Chatter Followup: UCLA In (re)Negotiations With Adidas

Will the Bruins remain in those "Three Stripes"? Photo Credit: <a href="" target="new">le borst (flickr)</a>
Will the Bruins remain in those "Three Stripes"? Photo Credit: le borst (flickr)

UCLA's contract with Adidas is set to expire this June. We had a massive and spirited discussion here last September concerning who do we want to outfit our Bruins in case UCLA is considering other options besides Adidas which might include a traditional giant such as Nike or upstart company such as Under Armour. We also ran a poll on this topic as 41 percent of BNers indicated their preference for Nike, while 31 percent wanted to stick with Adidas (23 percent voted for Under Armour).

Well it looks like the talks on this subject matter has begun per the Daily Bruin:

At this point, UCLA athletics can only negotiate with adidas. The current agreement gives adidas a 90-day "exclusivity period" during which it can work to renew the deal. The exclusivity period ends April 1.

If the two sides do not reach a deal by that date, and do not agree to extend the period, then UCLA will have the option to talk with other companies. Bruin reps have been rather effusive in praise of the three stripes:

"Adidas has been a very fine partner," Toth said. "Our coaches have been very pleased."

In a separate interview conducted Tuesday, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero echoed that sentiment.

"We’ve had an excellent relationship with adidas, and we’re doing our due diligence now," Guerrero said. [...]

UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland has a long-standing relationship with adidas. His three head coaching positions have all come from schools sponsored by adidas: Northern Arizona, Pittsburgh (which has since switched to Nike) and UCLA.

"I think adidas has been great (to UCLA basketball)," Howland said. "They have done an outstanding job for our program ... I have a lot of good friends that are in the adidas family."

Some more interesting notes on this story after the jump.

Per the report under the current deal UCLA athletics gets "about $2.5 million in cash and $1.575 million worth of equipment each year." It was a nice package when UCLA signed the deal with Adidas (I think sometime in the late 90s) making it one of the marquee programs along with (at the time) Notre Dame and Tennessee to have a K with the German company. Well then Michigan stepped in with its own mega deal with Adidas:

In many ways the 2007 Michigan-adidas deal altered the landscape of university apparel agreements. It ended a 14-year partnership between Michigan and Nike.

The Michigan-adidas contract itself also includes new features. In addition to an average annual payout of $6.85 million (in cash and equipment), adidas agreed to pay a $6.5 million signing bonus, reportedly the first-ever signing bonus in a sponsorship agreement of this kind. The Michigan contract is also noteworthy for its "most favored university" clause, which stipulates that if adidas signs a more lucrative agreement with a separate school it must revise the Michigan deal so that Michigan receives the same amount.

I think if Adidas is looking to renegotiate our guys should be a little firm (even though they are sounding content in public at least according to DB):

UCLA athletics seems content with the way adidas has promoted the Bruin brand throughout the past decade. Bjork said that in that period, adidas has improved its retail visibility and bolstered its standing among consumers.

The UCLA administrators also said they have consulted with coaches and players and are generally pleased with the quality of adidas products.

I personally like Adidas more than Nike. However, I am not sure Adidas has done a great job of promoting UCLA athletics. I think they could have done much better job of promoting our basketball program when we were making our Final-4 runs and I certainly will expect way more than what they have done for our football program to date, should we make the expected improvements under CRN.

That said I am not sold on Nike either as I am not sure if they will ever give us priority in our own conference placing us well behind Oregon and Southern Cal. So I am still ambivalent about who UCLA ends up signing with. I just hope our guys lock in an agreement that has our athletic department including two major revenue programs well positioned in the coming years.