After a relationship of 20 years with sportswear and footwear maker Nike, the University of Washington has announced that it signed a $119 million deal with Adidas, the footwear and sports apparel maker based in Germany.
With the signing of the University of Washington athletic programs, Adidas has 12 universities as well as two athletic programs from the Pac-12 Conference signed to use its footwear and apparel.
The contract for $119 million is for 10 years and starts during the summer of 2019. That equals $11.9 million per year dwarfing the deal that Arizona State another member of the Pac-12 signed back in 2014 for $33.8 million for an eight-year period.
The deal between Washington and Adidas is the seventh largest apparel deal in the U.S. and the third most lucrative for any school with Adidas, trailing only those deals with Louisville and Nebraska.
It appears Adidas decided it would be using Washington as its flag bearer for the West Coast when it relates to college sports.
When UCLA walked away from Adidas in 2016 to sign with Under Armour for an incredible $280 million and remains college sports’ most lucrative apparel deal to date, Adidas clearly was looking to find a way of keeping a strong brand presence out west.
Adidas’ headquarters for North America are in Portland, Oregon just a short distance from the Seattle-based University of Washington. Washington will also be doing “product testing” for Adidas at its campus.
The relationship between Washington and Adidas may end up similar to that of the one between Oregon and Nike.
The likelihood there will be outlandish types of new designs is low, in fact at present, designs for college football apparel are returning to a more conservative approach.
The Oregon Ducks have returned to more traditional patterns and colors beginning last season, after going to an extreme for three or four seasons. The thought is that other schools will follow suit.
There is a likelihood that Washington will show off some interesting and different designs with Adidas, but look for them to remain on the traditional conservative side with the schools purple and gold colors remaining the focus.
The transition in 2019 to Adidas from Nike will likely be very seamless as the school and sportswear maker have plenty of time to come up with new designs to launch during the summer of 2019.