According to Sara Germano of the Financial Times, Boston College is currently “in disuccsions” with Under Armour regarding the school’s outfitting contact with the sports apparel and marketing company.
This news comes on the heels of Under Armour exiting apparel arrangements with UCLA and Cal — worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Both Pac-12 universities say they will contest the company’s termination move.
The decision from Under Armour comes at a time when college athletics, as an industry, is already dealing with a variety of burdens due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including potentially severe financial outcomes.
As Germano notes in FT: last month, David Bergman, Under Armour’s chief financial officer, announced that his company was taking measures to improve liquidity during the the current financial crisis brought on by COVID-19. Bergman said UA planned to evaluate its current marketing deals. Fast forward to now, and what’s happening at UCLA and Cal may seem surprising, but it’s really not.
Back in 2016, UCLA and Under Armour came to a record-setting apparel deal for college athletics: 15 years, $280 million, reportedly. Under Armour’s arrangement with Cal isn’t nearly as pricey, though it’s still exorbitant: $86 million over 10 years, signed a month before the UCLA contract.
For Under Armour to wiggle out of a deal valued at over a quarter-billion dollars, less than 30 percent of the way through the agreement, is wild. It’s also bad business and an obvious failure of the firm.
Boston College sports have been outfitted by Under Armour since July 2010 — a deal signed and announced in Dec. 2009. Back in March 2015, Boston College and Under Armour extended the partnership for another decade.
Just in: Boston College says they are also in discussions with Under Armour about their outfitting contract. "We will continue those conversations with the primary focus on doing whatever is best for our student-athletes and athletics department here at Boston College." https://t.co/nTi7ss2ljG
— Sara Germano (@germanotes) June 30, 2020
In a somewhat ironic twist, former Boston College athletics director Martin Jarmond is set to take over as UCLA’s AD on July 1. After 18 years with UCLA, which included the deal with Under Armour, Dan Guerrero is set to retire in July. (Given the current circumstance, though, perhaps Guerrero will stay close to help the proceedings.)
This news comes at an especially bad time, too, for UCLA. Earlier this year, UCLA reported a loss of nearly $19 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year: $108.4 million in revenue with $127.3 million in expenses.
The only other ACC school with an Under Armour deal is Notre Dame — a massively popular sports brand, regardless of competition level. A couple yeas ago, when Georgia Tech planned to not renew its apparel deal with Russell Athletic, Under Armour was considered a possible landing spot. However, Adidas ultimately won out.
Outside the ACC, UA also has deals with Auburn, South Carolina and Yale. South Carolina has reportedly been in contact with Under Armour, too.
So far, Nike and Adidas — competitors of Under Armour — have yet to try and get out of a college marketing deal.