OU inks $2 million athletic apparel deal with Adidas

3 April 2017

Ohio University Athletics announced last month that it had signed an eight-year contract with German sports equipment titan Adidas to outfit all of its varsity sports with footwear, apparel, accessories and equipment.

According to a copy of the contract obtained by The NEWS, the university estimates it will spend $200,000 a year on the apparel, for a total estimated cost of $2 million over the next 10 years. The university is under contract with Adidas for eight years, but could optionally extend it by an additional two years.

However, the $200,000 amount is the minimum amount that the university is contractually required to spend each year, so OU theoretically could spend more.

Formerly, the university had its varsity sports outfitted by Russell Athletics, with whom the university’s contract expires this June. Anthony Reynolds, OU’s assistant athletic director for media relations, said in an email clarifying the contract that the $200,000 minimum is “consistent” with how much the university spends each year on the Russell agreement.

OU Athletics Director Jim Schaus said in an article on OU Athletics’ website that the program is “ecstatic” about its new partnership with the German corporation, the second-largest sports-equipment manufacturer in the world. Adidas’ U.S. headquarters is in Portland, Oregon.

 “They are a premier brand which has stood for excellence in the sports world for nearly 100 years,” Schaus said. “Our student-athletes, coaches, staff will love the high quality of their uniform, apparel and shoe lines, and our fans will enjoy all that they offer for Bobcats-branded gear. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with adidas.” (The release followed the lower-case “a” style used by the company.)

Under the agreement, OU agrees to purchase Adidas products for its athletic teams’ use at a 45-50 percent discount from Adidas’ catalogue price (45 percent for most footwear, 50 percent for most other apparel and equipment), although “custom uniforms” will cost the full amount.

Through the contract, OU will also get $600,000 worth of “promotional merchandise” from Adidas for the first five years of the contract, provided the university keeps up the minimum $200,000 in purchases each year. OU will receive an additional $635,000 in Adidas merchandise for the last three years of the contract. Reynolds noted that that “merchandise” is anything from Adidas’ catalogue. He also explained how that money will be portioned out to each OU team.

“The athletic director determines the amount of promotional allotment that is allocated to each sport, and then the coaches and equipment managers actually choose the apparel and equipment,” Reynolds said.

According to a report in The Post, OU’s student-run newspaper, the university’s previous deal with Russell Athletics netted the university about $400,000 per year in athletic gear.

According to the contract, each year the university is eligible for a number of incentives if its varsity teams perform well. For a football bowl appearance, for example, OU will get $20,000 in Adidas products; for a men or women’s basketball NCAA conference appearance, OU will receive $10,000 worth of products. In total, these incentives add up to about $87,000 worth of products each year if the teams meet the goals listed.

Meanwhile, football and men’s basketball are eligible for cash compensation for winning performances. For men’s basketball, Ohio could earn $200,000 in cash if the team is NCAA champion (highly unlikely, if not impossible), $100,000 for being in the Final Four, $50,000 for being in the Elite 8, $25,000 for being in the Sweet 16, $15,000 for winning their first NCAA match, and $10,000 for simply appearing in the NCAA Tournament. These are non-cumulative, so only the “highest achievement” shall be compensated, the contract reads.

For football, OU could earn as much as $250,000 for being national champion (again, a near impossible goal), $100,000 for earning a play-off appearance, $50,000 for winning the FB Committee Contract Bowl, $25,000 for earning a trip to the FB Committee Contract Bowl, $10,000 for winning a bowl game, and $5,000 for earning a trip to a bowl game.