What the Under Armour Deal Signifies for UCLA Sports

Joe Piechowski

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What do UCLA and sporting apparel giant Under Armour have in common? Fifteen (15) years, two-hundred and eighty million ($280) dollars, no change. That is a lot of money and the largest NCAA sponsorship and apparel agreement to date in terms of total dollars and average annual value.

With that much new revenue, what might we expect to occur with UCLA sports? Here is a Top Five List:

1. UCLA, under the leadership of their various coaches, have further established themselves as an upper echelon program across all sports

Jim Mora, in specific, with his National Football League (NFL) head coaching experience, the lineage with his father, Jim Mora, Sr., and his drive to change the football program, was hired by UCLA to lead the football program, one of its biggest moneymakers and recognizable programs next to basketball, into the future. Mora, in his fourth year as head coach of the UCLA football team, has been successful with a 37–16 (.698) record. Maybe not as much success as fans would like, but he has provided the leadership and swagger that the UCLA football program has been missing since the Terry Donahue era. He has also turned the football program into a machine for turning out NFL draftees. See the full list of Bruins in the Pros.

UCLA is an iconic brand, but it is not certain that Under Armour would have paid the largest deal in NCAA history without a change in the direction of football program. It also helped that Under Armour wanted to plant its flag on the West Coast, says Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank via David Wharton with the Los Angeles Times.

2. Under Armour is to Nike and Adidas in 2016, what Nike was to Adidas in the 1980's

Preposterous statement? Take a gander on how Nike won over Michael Jordan in the 1980s. Then look at how Nike lost Steph Curry to Under Armour. Nike did land Kevin Durant and some college football programs, but the market is changing and now Under Armour’s foot, pun intended, has landed on the powerful, populated, and marketable West Coast. has a great article on Nike vs. Adidas. If you love 1980's sneakers, has an article about 80s footwear for you.

3. UCLA will have better facilities – New Drake Stadium in Westwood?

David Wharton's LA Times article has some of the details of the Under Armour deal.

UCLA will receive $15 million in cash up front, according a person with knowledge of the agreement who was not authorized to speak publicly. The school will subsequently be paid approximately $11 million annually in rights and marketing fees.

Under Armour has agreed to supply about $7.4 million worth of clothing, shoes and equipment each school year and contribute an additional $2 million over the next eight years for upgrades at facilities such as the Morgan Center and the Acosta Athletic Complex.

New Drake Stadium in Westwood where UCLA football can be played on campus? Unlikely, however, without more money, Bel Air resident approval, and some political maneuvering.

4. UCLA will increase its recruiting efforts nationally and internationally

With more money to play with, UCLA will have the opportunity to pay its coaches and recruitment teams to travel the country and possibly the world to look for and sign talented student-athletes. It also likely means more satellite camps, which I wrote about last week. This, leads to the next point . . .

5. UCLA will offer more scholarships to its student-athletes

On October 27, 2014, Pac-12 News reported that UCLA and the Pac-12 Conference schools approved "[s]weeping reforms for student-athletes, including guaranteed four-year athletic scholarships, continuing education, improved health care, liberalized transfer rules, and [increased student-athlete representation in Pac-12 governance]."

On January 17, 2015, Steve Berkowitz of USA TODAY Sports reported that "the NCAA's five wealthiest conferences on Saturday voted 79-1 to expand what Division I schools can provide under an athletic scholarship . . . [scholarships now cover] traditional tuition, room, board, books and fees, but also the incidental costs of attending college. That means a scholarship will now be able to pay for items including transportation and miscellaneous personal expenses."

What happens when you combine opportunity with spending power? According to an article by Jon Solomon of CBS Sports, we can presume that UCLA is likely to add a lot more than three multi-year scholarships for student-athletes. However, remember that Title IX will require women’s sports to also see increases unless UCLA wants to invite some unneeded investigations and lawsuits.

Hurray for more Five-Star Athletes!

In the words of UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero in an email message to the Bruin Family on May 24, 2016:

"From our recent multimedia rights deal with WME/IMG to capital projects such as the Wasserman Football and Mo Ostin Basketball Centers to this partnership with Under Armour, we have taken control of our own destiny and are in the process of elevating UCLA Athletics to an entirely new level."


This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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