UCLA and Under Armour have settled a lawsuit in which the university sought more than $200 million in damages after the sports apparel company attempted to terminate its sponsorship deal with the Bruins early.
According to court filings, both UCLA and Under Armour asked a California state court to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice. They had agreed to a settlement in May in which UA paid UCLA $67.5 million. The settlement voids both UCLA’s original lawsuit — and Under Armour’s countersuit — while instilling a non-disparagement clause for both parties.
“UCLA is one of the most recognized and respected collegiate names around the globe,” Mary Osako, UCLA’s vice chancellor of strategic communications, told ESPN in a statement. “We are gratified to have resolved this matter in a way that benefits our student-athletes and the entire Bruin community.”
The university sued Under Armour in August 2020 after the sports apparel company informed the university in June of that year that it was terminating its contract with the Bruins. The parties were just four years into a 15-year deal worth $280 million.
Here’s what you need to know about the lawsuit, the settlement, and why Under Armour attempted to terminate the contract so early:
How much was Under Armour’s UCLA sponsorship worth?
Under Armour announced in 2016 that it had signed a sponsorship deal with UCLA worth $280 million over 15 years. At the time, it was the largest apparel sponsorship agreement in history.
The deal, which averaged $18.7 million per year for UCLA, made the Bruins the third Pac-12 school to wear the Under Armour logo following Utah and Cal. Per a report from The New York Times, UCLA’s previous apparel sponsorship was with Adidas for $7.5 million per year.
Prior to that, the largest apparel deals were Nike’s contracts with Texas and Ohio State, both valued at $250 million.
UCLA’s suit against Under Armour was also predicated on the fact the school’s athletic department was $100 million in debt (stemming in part from the loss of the Under Armour contract). That debt is also part of the reason why UCLA will move from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten in 2024. The Big Ten’s next media rights deal will reportedly be worth over $1 billion annually.
Why did Under Armour attempt to terminate its contract with UCLA?
Under Armour informed UCLA in 2020 that it was terminating its contract because the university was not providing “marketing benefits” that had been guaranteed as part of the deal. Under Armour’s basis of termination was UCLA’s cancellation of sports in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It also cited the resignation of men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo following his involvement in the U.S. college admissions scandal as a contributing factor.
Under Armour alleged in a countersuit against UCLA that the school had covered its logo on team uniforms with social justice patches. UCLA’s basketball and football teams both wore patches espousing social justice in the wake of the George Floyd killing and other instances of police brutality ahead of the 2020-21 athletic calendar.
Both UCLA’s lawsuit and Under Armour’s countersuit have been dismissed as part of the settlement.
What schools does Under Armour sponsor?
Under Armour sponsors 16 universities and two NCAA FBS conferences:
- Coastal Carolina
- Colorado State
- Georgia State
- Kent State
- New Mexico State
- Notre Dame
- Old Dominion
- South Carolina
- Texas Tech
- Conference USA
- Mid-American Conference
Who sponsors UCLA now?
UCLA is now sponsored by Nike. The sides agreed to a six-year, $279.9 million contract in December 2020. That’s an average annual payout of $46.45 million.