The University of South Florida has picked Adidas to outfit its sports teams under an eight-year deal, replacing Baltimore-based Under Armour as the school’s footwear and athletic wear brand.
USF Athletics said Under Armour rival Adidas, with a Portland, Ore.,-based North American headquarters, will supply uniforms and other apparel, footwear and accessories to all 19 varsity teams.
Under Armour reached its agreement with the university in 2008, which expires this year. The Baltimore sports apparel maker confirmed on Wednesday it will no longer supply the Bulls’ teams after this year.
"We are thrilled to be embarking on an exciting new partnership with one of the world's most recognizable and innovative sports performance product companies," Mark Harlan, USF director of athletics, said in the announcement Wednesday. "The Adidas brand is storied, iconic and respected worldwide, and they continue to push game-changing products forward with creativity and cutting-edge technology.”
Under Armour and Adidas have long been locked in a fierce rivalry. The Baltimore brand overtook Adidas in 2014 in combined apparel and footwear sales to become the second-biggest sports brand in the United States. Adidas took back the No. 2 brand spot last year, and this year has continued to steal market share from rivals, including Under Armour, as it turned its athletic shoes into fashion statements.
On the university front, Under Armour beat out Adidas in 2014 to partner with the University of Notre Dame and its athletic teams in a 10-year deal, reportedly worth more than $82 million and more than Adidas’ previous 10-year, $60 million deal with Notre Dame. Under Armour also outfits schools such as the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Naval Academy and Auburn University and last year signed a 15-year, $280 million outfitting deal with UCLA.
Adidas’ deal with USF runs from next year through the 2025-2026 season. Under the agreement, Adidas also will supply the university’s spirit squads — cheerleaders and Sun Dolls — and the Herd of Thunder Marching Band. The university will be part of Adidas’ branding campaigns, with student athletes and coaches wearing products and gear. Adidas supplies more than 100 collegiate programs and has marketing agreements with the National Basketball Association, National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer.