Jan 8, 2015 10:32 AM

Partnership between Adidas, Miami Hurricanes launches

The Associated Press

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) The University of Miami and Adidas announced Thursday that they will partner for the next 12 years in a deal that has the potential to become the most lucrative in the history of Hurricane athletics.

It's also the longest deal Adidas has struck with any collegiate program.

A person familiar with the contract terms told The Associated Press that the deal is worth "multiple times" more than Miami's previous arrangement with Nike, which chose not to match Adidas' offer. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither side authorized the release of specific financial terms.

"Their unmatched success, national relevance and cultural significance make them a perfect fit for Adidas as we continue to significantly invest and grow our business in the U.S," said Adidas Group North America President Mark King. "Florida is a key battleground and home to some of the best athletic talent in the country. We're proud to have Miami as a key pillar of our future business."

The deal has three components: cash going to Miami each year, an allotment of merchandise for the school's athletic programs, and a marketing agreement. Other elements may still be incorporated into the partnership, which the Hurricanes said would run through June 30, 2027.

"Credit to Nike, they've done an incredible job of creating as strong of a brand as there is in the country and probably worldwide," Miami athletic director Blake James said. "They have done a great job of promoting their product and we looked at all variables when deciding who was the best partner for us going forward. After that analysis, we determined Adidas was the best fit."

Miami, as a private institution, is not obligated to reveal the financial specifics of the new arrangement. But the deal figures to be massive for the Hurricanes.

Last year, Adidas and Louisville agreed to a deal worth $7.8 million annually. If the Miami one is similar as would be expected it could be worth more than $90 million over the life of the contract.

Adidas sports marketing director Chris McGuire said the apparel company considered Miami "a target market."

"We've looked at Miami for the last five or six years and said 'Let's do what it takes to get there,'" McGuire said.

Adidas which also has deals with Kansas, Indiana and UCLA, among other schools announced the partnership early Thursday with the unveiling of a colorful splash built around Miami's iconic "U'' logo and orange and green color scheme on its Twitter page. The contract with Miami officially begins Sept. 1.

"A perfect fit," said New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who played college basketball and football at Miami and is an Adidas endorser.

It's the latest significant deal struck by Miami's athletic department, with other recent entries including the construction of a new building housing an academic center, offices, meeting space and expanded athletic training rooms, among other amenities; a new scoreboard for the school's basketball arena; a practice field for the football team; and most recently, a new track.

Miami's relationship with Nike lasted more than a quarter-century and was considered groundbreaking, the first of its kind for a college and an apparel company. The school informed Nike about a year ago that it would seek bids from other companies, and Adidas and Under Armour both pursued the Hurricanes.

Some aspects of what the deal means for Miami are still unclear. The school uses Nike basketballs, for example, but will almost certainly be switching to another brand after this season. Miami's baseball team has a separate contract for bats, so that likely wouldn't be affected.

"The University of Miami is polarizing," James said, "and Adidas has embraced that."


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