Athletic apparel and accessory company Adidas is seeing growth in sales and revenue, and now so is the Nebraska athletic department’s contract with the company.
Nebraska has been with Adidas since 1995, and will continue to be for a long time after the NU Board of Regents approved a new 11-year deal through 2028.
The deal is worth $128 million over the length of the contact, with about $64 million in cash and $64 million in athletic apparel and equipment products.
In comparing the previous and new NU agreements, the increase in cash and product goes from $1 million to $3.5 million in cash the first year, and $3.4 million to $5 million in product.
Nebraska already had an exclusive deal with Adidas, and did not receive offers from other companies, such as Nike or Under Armour, Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst said.
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Jim Murphy, the director of NCAA sports marketing for Adidas, said as of now this is the largest contract for an Adidas school. But that many change as schools negotiate new deals. Some other top Adidas programs are Kansas, Texas A&M and Louisville.
“Nebraska is an elite school within the NCAA landscape, and they’re certainly at the top of our portfolio as you rank our schools,” Murphy told the Journal Star.
With the new deal Nebraska and Adidas will partner even more. The company will use information gathered from the Nebraska Athlete Performance Laboratory in making its products. You’ll see the Adidas brand more in the Huskers’ facilities and locker rooms. There will be more special events, or special moments during games, where Adidas is involved.
“Really for us when we got together at the table it was just really identifying how we could strengthen this relationship, become more integrated, and how do the two brands leverage each other and spend more time with each other,” Murphy said.
Student-athletes at Nebraska spend a lot of time in Adidas gear, not just during practice and games, but for everyday wear.
NU football player Devine Ozigbo was a Nike guy growing up. He was into the Michael Jordan brand, and Nike was his first pair of cleats, but he likes some of the new things Adidas is providing.
"Nike gear is pretty good, but Adidas is really coming along when it comes to their causal wear, like their regular shoes and the regular outfits,” Ozigbo said. “So that’s definitely where I see myself gravitating toward Adidas.”
The athletes get so much apparel from Adidas, Ozigbo said, that he could go several weeks without wearing the same thing.
“I wear a lot of the stuff that we get here, so I’m wearing it almost every day,” Ozigbo said. “Like personal stuff, I love the shoes. I feel like they’re killing it with the shoes right now. Shoes that you can wear casually, but then you can also put a nice outfit together with them.”
Several members of the NU Board of Regents, and NU President Hank Bounds, each praised the part that Husker fans have in making Adidas want to sponsor Nebraska.
“We believe this very good outcome is a result of many things, but I would be remiss not to note what an important role the loyal Husker fan base plays in these kinds of arrangement,” Bounds said. “It’s because of our fans that companies like Adidas are willing, and want to be affiliated with the Huskers in ways as significant as this sponsorship agreement.”
Along with the new Adidas deal, the athletic department will also see more revenue from receiving a full share as a Big Ten Conference member. The additional revenue from Adidas and the Big Ten will help Nebraska support its athletes and coaches.
Plans have already been approved for a new gymnastics practice facility. Eichorst would also like to improve facilities for the golf teams, and possibly swimming.
“I believe we have a plan now moving forward, given the six-year integration period,” Eichorst said. “If you remember we’ve taken about $6 million less than those who we’re competing against, and then we’ve made significant contributions back to the university. Moving forward we believe we’re in good position to make the investments that we need to make in our programs in order to compete at the highest level.”