Washington-Oregon Rivalry Heats Up as Huskies Nix Nike for Adidas
Three stripes trumps one swoosh.
And a lot of cash.
The University of Washington has ended its 20-year partnership with Nike, which paid Husky athletics $3.5 million in cash and product over the past two decades, signing a much more lucrative and shorter term deal with apparel rival Adidas.
The new Adidas agreement is for 10 years at $12 million annually, making it one of the richest deals in all of college athletics.
The Adidas money breakdown is pretty evenly split between cash and product, and there is $1.1 million set aside for marketing.
The University of Washington is now Adidas' biggest partner on the West Coast. Adidas is affiliated with 12 universities total. The only other Pac-12 school with which Adidas is associated s Arizona State, which signed a deal in 2014.
The Board of Regents is expected to approve the deal this week with 2019 set as when the agreement will begin. Adidas has also pledged up to $500,000 for Pac-12 or National Championships.
An ethics clause has also been added in case either side wants to bail out given a potentially embarrassing situation that might arise.
The Adidas deal should please those UW fans bellowing that the Huskies should not be associated with Nike, given the company’s strong ties to the Oregon Ducks. Nike co-founder Phil Knight is an Oregon alumnus who has given hundreds of millions of dollars to his alma mater over the years.
The Huskies’ new apparel deal should add another layer to the UW-Oregon rivalry. The Ducks, a longtime Nike school, agreed last fall to an 11-year, $88 million extension on its apparel licensing.
Nike was not willing to offer more than that to the Huskies.