North Carolina

UNC and Nike headed for another contract but don’t expect Ohio State or Texas-type money

Nike is the official basketball of the University of North Carolina.
Nike is the official basketball of the University of North Carolina. Staff Photo by Robert Willett

The University of North Carolina is closing in on a contract extension with Nike, athletic director Bubba Cunningham said on Monday, and it is expected to be finalized next month.

The contract extension with the Oregon sneaker giant, which has been UNC’s primary sneaker/uniform/apparel partner since 1994, will likely be another 10-year deal, Cunningham said.

While Ohio State and Texas have each recently received deals with Nike worth more than $250 million, Cunningham did not anticipate UNC’s deal to be in the same financial stratosphere.

“It will be a very good deal but not a blockbuster,” Cunningham said.

UNC’s current deal with Nike, and its Jordan Brand subsidiary, expires in June and is worth about $36.85 million in uniforms, footwear, apparel and cash considerations.

The total compensation does not include the separate contracts Nike has with individual coaches at UNC. The school does not disclose the value of the contracts with individual coaches.

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A message on Seventh Woods’ shoe as he warms up for the Tar Heels’ game against Pitt on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

The previous apparel contract, negotiated by former UNC AD Dick Baddour, included $31.6 million (retail value) in products peaking at $3.4 million annually for the last two years of the deal.

“Dick did a great job because his primary focus was to get as much product to the students as possible,” Cunningham said. “We’ll take more product and less cash. I think that’s a very good philosophy.”

Nike paid UNC $1 million in cash considerations, up front when the deal was signed in 2008, and then another $2.25 million annually. In addition, Nike made a $2 million payment to the “Chancellor’s Academic Enhancement Fund,” according to the terms of the contract.

Texas agreed to a reported 15-year deal worth $250 million with Nike in 2015 and Ohio State’s deal in 2016, also 15 years, is worth more than $250 million.

The Texas contract included a $20 million cash payment up front and another $6.5 million annually in cash, according to the Texas Tribune.

Ohio State will get $112 million in product from Nike and at least $103 million in cash, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The big (contract) pops are driven by football or if you step outside and go to another company,” Cunningham said.

The Tar Heels won the national championship in basketball in 2017, their third in a 12-year span, but finished the most recent football season with a 3-9 record and hasn’t won the ACC title since 1980.

Sneaker and apparel deals have taken off in recent years with adidas and Under Armour driving up the market value. UCLA’s 15-year, $280 million deal with Under Armour is reportedly the richest in the NCAA.

Louisville’s 10-year deal with adidas is worth a reported $160 million is the richest among ACC schools.

Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

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