UCLA Basketball: Nike association would be a financial slam dunk for Bruins

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NCAA Basketball

CINCINNATI, OH – NOVEMBER 28: General view of Nike basketballs are seen on the rack before the Xavier Musketeers and Miami (Oh) Redhawks game  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

UCLA Basketball and the athletics program could use a financial boost to replace Under Armour. Could Nike be the answer?

Things in Westwood looked a lot different back in May of 2016. Steve Alford was head coach of UCLA Basketball, Lonzo Ball was about to arrive on campus, and UCLA had just inked the largest athletic apparel deal in collegiate sports history at the time. Barely 35 months after the partnership began (July of 2017), Under Armour started to terminate the 15-year deal for $280 million.

Several media outlets, including ESPN, have reported the legal battle between UCLA and Under Armour. The apparel company is invoking the force majeure clause in the contract. In laymen’s terms, unforeseen circumstances (such as a global pandemic that halted college sports) have resulted in Under Armour shelling out money without reaping the reward of seeing their products on the court or field. But then again, the same is true with Auburn and Notre Dame, but Under Armour is only trying to get out of deals with UCLA and Cal.

In a lawsuit filed last week, UCLA is essentially saying that Under Armour is being opportunistic and using the pandemic to get out of a deal that is too expensive for the struggling company. Darren Rovell made a good case for why this attempt to void the contract could backfire on Under Armour.

But maybe something good can come out of this for UCLA basketball. Let’s be honest, Under Armour has little clout in the hoops world compared to the dominant players like Nike, Jordan Brand, and Adidas.

There aren’t many teenagers lining up for the newest Curry’s from Under Armour. Top-rated recruits want to wear Kyrie’s or KD’s from Nike, the latest J’s from Jordan Brand, or fashion-friendly Adidas models.

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