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Under Armour replaced by Nike as athletic outfitter at UC Berkeley

Under Armour has been replaced by rival Nike in a deal to outfit athletes at the University of California-Berkeley.

The university announced this month that Nike and distributor BSN Sports will provide apparel, footwear and equipment to its athletes under a three-year agreement starting July 1.

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Under Armour had entered into a 10-year deal with Cal-Berkeley beginning in July 2017, as the Baltimore-based brand was looking to grow aggressively, increase its presence in the West and achieve brand dominance through high-profile endorsements.

That deal, signed in 2016 as Under Armour’s 34th broad partnership with a Division I school, had been valued at nearly $86 million, including cash and product allowances, sources had said.

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But the sports apparel maker saw its fortunes begin to reverse soon after. Sales faltered, and the company began to retrench, only to see sales plunge again during the pandemic and economic slowdown.

In July 2020, the company suspended a record $280 million contract outfitting UCLA athletes that was supposed to last 15 years, setting in motion a drawn-out legal dispute with the university. It ended in July when Under Armour agreed to pay UCLA more than $67 million.

Under Armour sought to end the Cal-Berkeley deal as well.

And the brand took other steps during a multi-year restructuring to rein in costs and operate more efficiently, such as cutting back on sponsorships and dropping an on-field contract with the National Football League.

Under Armour declined to comment Wednesday on the status of the interrupted sponsorship agreement between the former partners that was to run through 2027.

A spokesman for Cal-Berkeley said only that the partnership with Under Armour will expire June 30.

“We wish Cal-Berkeley the best and we are committed to serving our 89+ university and college partners and student athletes,” Under Armour said in a statement.

In announcing the Nike deal earlier this month, Cal-Berkeley said its 30 sports programs will be outfitted in Nike gear.

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“It will continue to elevate our brand while providing our student-athletes and staff the resources they need to compete at the highest level,” said Jim Knowlton, the university’s director of athletics, in the announcement.


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