Under Armour attempting to end massive $280M deal with UCLA

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Less than five years into its massive $280 million deal with UCLA, Under Armour is trying to get out.

Under Armour informed the school that it wants to terminate the 15-year, $280 million deal— which set an NCAA record for the largest in history when it was signed in 2016 — on Saturday, according to The Los Angeles Times. The apparel company believes UCLA has failed to provide marketing benefits that were agreed upon.

“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, via The Los Angeles Times. “The agreement allows us to terminate in such an event and we are exercising that right.”

The Bruins made the switch to Under Armour after their contract with Adidas expired in 2017. The deal was the largest shoe and apparel sponsorship in college sports history, per the report. Under Armour reportedly paid UCLA $15 million up front, and then agreed to about $11 million each year in rights and marketing fees. It also provides about $7.4 million in clothing, shoes and equipment each year, and about $2 million each year for facility upgrades.

Yet just a few years into the deal, Under Armour feels it hasn’t benefited enough — especially given the football and basketball programs’ recent struggles. UCLA football hasn’t had a winning season since 2015, and went just 4-8 last year, while the basketball program has failed to reach the NCAA tournament since parting ways with Steve Alford in 2018.

Under Armour also holds two other deals in the Pac-12 with Cal and Utah. Adidas is still with Washington and Arizona State. Nike has deals with the other seven schools in the conference.

UCLA is planning to try and salvage the deal, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero wrote in a letter on Saturday. His tenure with the school is set to end this week, however, and he’ll be replaced by Martin Jarmond.

“We are exploring all of our options to resist Under Armour’s actions and will share more information as we can,” Guerrero wrote, via The Los Angeles Times. “We want to reassure you that UCLA Athletics remains 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.”

UCLA and Under Armour’s 15-year, $280 million deal was the largest in college sports history when it was signed in 2016.
UCLA and Under Armour’s 15-year, $280 million deal was the largest in college sports history when it was signed in 2016. (AP/Young Kwak)

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