The University of Notre Dame appears poised to change its athletic apparel provider when its current contract with Adidas expires at the end of this school year.
Multiple sources have told IBJ that officials for Baltimore-based Under Armour, including company founder and CEO Kevin Plank, visited the Notre Dame campus in South Bend earlier this month to talk to university officials about an apparel deal.
Notre Dame has had a deal with Adidas since 1997 and signed its most recent 10-year deal with the German apparel- and shoe-maker in 2005. Sources said Notre Dame’s apparel deal is one of the most lucrative in sports. Because the university is a private school, terms of its deal are not publicly disclosed.
The University of Michigan has one of the most lucrative known apparel deals, with the university getting $4.4 million in equipment and apparel and another $3.8 million in cash annually from Adidas.
Notre Dame provides a high-profile platform for sponsors. Its football program has a television deal with NBC, and its men’s basketball team plays in the high-octane Atlantic Coast Conference. Sources said a new apparel deal for Notre Dame—whomever it’s with—is likely to be valued at $8 million to $10 million annually.
Notre Dame officials did not return calls seeking comment.
In December, Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick told ESPN that a deal had not been signed with Under Armour, but that a review of its apparel deal was under way.
“We have been very happy with Adidas,” Swarbrick told ESPN last month. “But it is just good business to use the expiration of a contract to review all options.”
Both ESPN and Sports Illustrated have since reported that Notre Dame is close to an agreement with Under Armour.
Under Armour has a cadre of schools under contract, but Notre Dame likely would be its biggest collegiate client. Under Armour currently has deals with Auburn University, University of Hawaii, University of Maryland, Texas Tech University, Boston College, University of Utah, Northwestern University, St. John’s University, University of South Florida and the University of South Carolina.