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On Monday, Under Armour and Texas Tech University announced a new partnership that designates the company as the university’s exclusive performance footwear and apparel outfitter. Under the new 5-year $11M deal, UA will outfit all 17 of Texas Tech’s teams in addition to football, which it has outfitted since 2006. This announcement came at a great time.

Less than two weeks ago, the Red Raiders upset the #1 Texas Longhorns in front of a nationally televised audience vaulting the school to #2 in the BCS rankings. In the process, both Graham Harrell (QB) and Michael Crabtree (WR) solidified their respective case as legitimate Heisman candidates. If the team can complete its remaining schedule (bye week, #5 Oklahoma, and Baylor) unbeaten, the Red Raiders should be vouching for a national title bid in the BCS championship game (talk about brand exposure). Notably, the University of Utah ranked #7 at 10-0 is another UA outfitted team in the BCS mix. Would I rather this deal have been signed before the big win? Yes. It would have saved UA a buck or two. But overall, the terms seem fair.

Despite all the hype, it’s important to not lose sight of how these deals have been struck. As Brian pointed out in his 9/28 post “I’m Warming to the Armour,” the company tends to take a more conservative approach by front-end loading its endorsement deals (less than 5yrs). The same appears to be true for its sponsorship deals. In September, UA inked a 5-year, $17.5M deal with the University of Maryland following an 8-year, $4.1M deal with the University of Hawaii in February. As a point of reference, earlier this year Nike signed a 10-year, $46M exclusive sponsorship deal with UConn.

The company currently outfits five other football programs including the University of Maryland, University of Hawaii, Auburn, University of Southern Florida, and the University of South Carolina. However, with UA’s newly announced sponsorship of the NFL Combine beginning this year and the second annual high school Under Armour All-American Game in January, we expect more teams to be wearing the UA logo come next season.

I’m not going to sit here and argue which company is striking better deals at better prices. But what I can say is that UA’s terms and duration both sit well with me – especially given that its endorsements result in new exposure, whereas I can argue that Nike’s deals are largely to maintain its massive existing share of consumer voice.

Casey Flavin
The country takes notice as Michael Crabtree and Texas Tech pick off the #1 Texas Longhorns on Nov 1.