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Under Armour will end $50 million sponsorship with University of Cincinnati, reports say

Under Armour will end its $50 million sponsorship with the University of Cincinnati but will continue to supply products to the school through June 2024, the university said Wednesday.

The Baltimore-based athletic apparel maker, struggling with losses during the coronavirus pandemic, has looked to trim expenses, renegotiating athlete endorsers’ contracts and ending its largest college outfitting contract, a $280 million deal with UCLA.

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Under Armour and Cincinnati agreed to end a sports outfitting deal that had originally run through 2025, the Baltimore Business Journal reported Wednesday.

Under Armour said Wednesday that the company has no comment at this time.

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But the university’s athletic director, John Cunningham, said in a statement that the university still is an Under Armour school, with a “great partner.”

Cincinnati Bearcats running back Michael Warren II is pictured in 2019.
Cincinnati Bearcats running back Michael Warren II is pictured in 2019. (Tony Tribble/AP)

“We adjusted the terms of our partnership in a manner that was best for both parties given the changes that have occurred in our industry over the past six months,” Cunningham said in the statement.

The university said Under Armour bought out of the official outfitter agreement and instead entered a product supply agreement through 2024.

Under Armour will pay $9.75 million as an exit fee and provide $3.65 million worth of product, which the university must order by next June, as part of the buyout, according to the Business Journal story.

Under the new product supply agreement, the university will purchase products from BSN Sports, a team sports apparel and equipment distributor, the story said.

Under Armour signed an agreement in April 2015 with Cincinnati’s athletic department that took effect that year in July. The brand designed and supplied footwear, apparel and equipment for training and game day uniforms for each of the Bearcats’ 19 men’s and women’s varsity athletic teams.

Cincinnati had previously been outfitted by Adidas.

Under Armour’s termination of its UCLA deal has led to a legal battle, with UCLA filing a breach-of-contract lawsuit seeking at least $200 million in damages.

Under Armour has argued it has no liability because the contract ended due to a “Force Majeure Event,” or catastrophic event that prevents performance, such as a national emergency. If such an event lasts for more than 100 days, the agreement allows for termination by either party, Under Armour said.

The NCAA and Pac-12 canceled all sporting events in mid-March, leaving UCLA coaches, staff and athletes unable to wear Under Armour products in practices or games.

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