All 23 University of Wisconsin athletic teams will ditch adidas gear for Under Armour starting next year, Athletic Director Barry Alvarez announced in a news conference Friday afternoon.
The 10-year, $96 million deal will begin on July 1, 2016, the day after Wisconsin’s current contract with adidas expires.
Flanked at the podium by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Senior Associate Athletic Director Justin Doherty, Alvarez said he had followed Under Armour a long time, calling it a “modern success story.”
“We think this will be a fantastic and long-term relationship that will benefit both the University of Wisconsin as well as Under Armour,” Alvarez said. “I know our student-athletes, staff and fans will enjoy and appreciate the top-shelf offerings from Under Armour.”
Basic uniform prototypes were on display at the announcement. Plank said the uniforms are in the infant stages of development, and aren’t even close to what fans will see come Fall 2016.
Alvarez’s and Plank’s relationship began in the late 1990s, Alvarez said. When UW’s current contract with adidas was set to expire about six years ago, Under Armour had a seat at the discussion table.
And now, Under Armour, a company that started in a Georgetown basement, represents another major institution.
“Today is another chapter in our company’s story — a story we’re very incredibly proud of,” Plank said.
Compared to the deal with adidas, the contract with Under Armour financially favors UW.
For the next 10 years, UW will receive “annual product allotment of Under Armour shoes, apparel and equipment at no cost,” according to documents from Friday morning’s Board of Regents meeting, which approved the deal.
In addition to the product allotment, Wisconsin will receive $3.3 million in product during the first year of the deal. For the second year of the deal, Wisconsin will receive $2.45 million, with that number increasing by $100,000 per year to $3.05 million by year nine. In the final year of the deal, UW will receive $1.375 million.
adidas provided UW with between $750,000-800,000 in cash contributions annually. Under Armour will provide $4 million a year in cash. Under Armour will pay $450,000 per year in royalties, while adidas only paid $100,000 annually.
“It’s a great contract for both sides,” UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank said to The Badger Herald, adding that her daughter loves to wear Under Armour products.
In addition to monetary benefits, Wisconsin placed significant stresses on Under Armour against harsh labor laws, a problem the university ran into with adidas.
Plank said it’s just as important to him and his company as it is to Alvarez and the university.
“Coach [Alvarez] is one of those people that are larger than life,” Plank said. “I can tell you there’s nothing more important to him than representing this state and representing this institution with the highest level of integrity of every turn.”
Non-athlete Wisconsin students also gained something from the deal. Under Armour will hire two students each summer for its Summer Rookie internship program.
“We couldn’t be happier with this new relationship,” Alvarez said.