WESTWOOD — The sports apparel brand Under Armour is seeking to terminate its once record-breaking deal with UCLA for the inability to reap the marketing benefits from the institution the company announced on Saturday, June 27.
“Under Armour has recently made the difficult decision to discontinue our partnership with UCLA, as we have been paying for marketing benefits that we have not received for an extended time period. The agreement allows us to terminate in such an event and we are exercising that right,” Under Armour said in a statement.
The two parties signed a 15-year, $280 million contract in 2016 that went into effect in July 2017. At the time of the deal, it was the largest apparel deal in college athletics. Under Armour acquired UCLA, who has the second most NCAA championships, in an attempt to challenge the likes of Nike and Adidas in the sneaker industry, but sales have been down for the company in recent years, especially following the economic-shutdown due to the coronavirus.
The Bruins have won five national championships across four sports since the deal went into effect with titles from beach volleyball (twice), men’s water polo, women’s gymnastics and most recently softball.
However, UCLA has failed to enter the national conversation as perennial football and men’s basketball programs, the two highest-earning and most media-recognized sports in college athletics. Since they began donning the Under Armour logo on their uniforms, the football team has failed to maintain a winning record in the past three seasons. The men’s basketball program concurrently has yet to make an NCAA tournament appearance since making it to the Sweet Sixteen in March of 2017.
In 2018, the UCLA student newspaper the Daily Bruin reported that many UCLA athletes on the track and field team opted to use other brands of footwear other than Under Armour when competing, noting the performance defects they were experiencing with their shoes.
UCLA responded to Under Armour’s announcement saying that they are exploring options to restrict the company from terminating the contract and to continue providing apparel and equipment to their athletes.