Just last month, I wrote about how ridiculous my trip to Nike HQ in Beaverton was, as the company wined and dined me around its campus and then spoiled me by treating me like an Oregon Duck football recruit for an entire day—and the Swoosh just showed how much power they have in the athletic gear arms race.
After recently inking LeBron James to a lifetime deal, Nike just tossed his favorite college a boatload of cash to remain the main sponsor of The Ohio State University athletics—as in $252 million over 15 years.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Buckeyes will receive $112 million in product from Nike and at least $103 million in cash, including royalty income, as well as more than $41 million in commitments beyond the Buckeyes’ athletic department to include scholarships and internships for non-athletes at Ohio State.
With Nike agreeing to long-term deals with both the University of Texas (15 years, $250 million) and the University of Michigan (11 years, $169 million), Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said it was the best time for the Scarlet and Gray to re-up, per WSJ:
“We internally decided to wait to see how those two, in particular, turned out,” he said. Mr. Smith said that after the Texas deal was completed, Ohio State negotiated more favorable terms in its licensing agreement with Nike.
As competition continues to grow from brands like Adidas, Under Armour, Reebok, etc., it appears that Nike’s making sure they lock up their biggest college athletic programs so not to lose a relationship that earns both sides serious coin.