Tennessee leaves Adidas, signs new apparel agreement with Nike
After nearly 20 years with Adidas, Tennessee is instead partnering with Nike as their new all-sports apparel provider.
Another long-time, high-profile college athletics client of Adidas has elected to part ways with the German apparel giant.
Direct from Tennessee's official athletics Twitter feed:
Tennessee has entered into a department wide apparel agreement with @NIKE. Details to follow.— Tennessee Athletics (@Vol_Sports) January 31, 2014
The Knoxville News-Sentinel notes that the Vols' current agreement with Adidas runs through June 30, 2015, meaning Tennessee won't wear their new Nike uniforms until the 2015 football season and 2015-2016 all-sports year.
Tennessee announced the deal is for eight years, through 2023, and for nearly $4 million per year to be paid in merchandise credit and cash. Nike will also pay the Volunteers a $2 million signing bonus.
"We were very thorough and deliberate in assessing and evaluating our options with our apparel partner decision,” Vol athletic director Dave Hart said in a release, per Nooga.com. "Nike is the right partner for the University of Tennessee moving forward. We appreciate our current partner and the strong relationship we have had for many years. We will continue to work together through the end of the existing contract."
The Vols' decision shapes up as another major blow for Adidas' college athletics brand, which earlier this month already saw Notre Dame -- a 16-year Adidas partner who the company had previously given the most lucrative apparel contract in college sports -- leave for rivals Under Armour. (The Irish's new deal with Under Armour is now the most lucrative apparel contract in college sports, according to Notre Dame. Adidas's most expensive contract is with Michigan.)
Like Notre Dame, the Volunteers had been with Adidas for more than a decade, with the News-Sentinel writing that the relationship between the company and Rocky Top dates back to "the mid-1990s."
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