Friday, March 22

UCLA to renew adidas deal

Athletics department reaches agreement in principle to maintain long-standing relationship

UCLA and adidas are sticking together.

The university and shoe company reached an agreement in principle to renew their sponsorship late Thursday night, just 24 hours before their exclusive renegotiation period was set to end, according to Glenn Toth, UCLA senior associate athletic director. The deal will preserve a long-standing relationship between UCLA and adidas that first began in 1999.

Toth said that no formal letter of intent has been signed yet, but that UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero was planning to meet with adidas executives this weekend at the Final Four in Indianapolis. Once the letter of intent is signed, work on the actual contract will begin.

Toth was not sure when the contract would be officially completed, and he did not comment on any of the dollar figures of the new deal. Attempts to reach executives at adidas were unsuccessful; the company has refused to comment throughout the renegotiation process.

Toth said this new deal would resemble the structure of the current one and include many of the same elements and provisions. Under the current deal, adidas pays UCLA $2.5 million in cash and provides $1.6 million in equipment each year. The current deal also includes an allotment for UCLA Recreation. It was set to expire in June 2011, and UCLA athletics needed to have a new deal in place by the end of this summer so that it could place orders for the 2011-2012 athletic seasons.

Up until Thursday, it was unclear if the new deal would come with adidas or another company. The agreement in principle came on the second-to-last day of a 90-day exclusive renegotiation period; if adidas and UCLA had not reached any agreement by Saturday morning, UCLA could have started to engage in talks with adidas’ rivals. Toth said both Nike and Under Armour had expressed interest.

But UCLA was always happy with adidas. Toth called the company, a “terrific partner” and said that UCLA would be extremely pleased to maintain the relationship. UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland also praised adidas.

In February, Guerrero told the Daily Bruin that UCLA was conducting “due diligence” during the renegotiation period.

Toth said that UCLA is pleased with the overall quality of adidas’ products. UCLA is also happy with the way adidas has grown in the consumer market throughout the last decade. In a way, the adidas deal also makes UCLA stand out. All of the nine other schools in the Pac-10 conference currently have agreements with Nike.

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