How Nike, Adidas and Under Armour rule college football

How Nike, Adidas and Under Armour rule college football
Nike designed new military themed uniforms for the University of Oregon Ducks' spring game. (Photo courtesy Nike)

When the college football season kicks off Thursday night, the Under Armour logo will adorn every piece of apparel worn by South Carolina players – jerseys, pants, socks, shoes and hats.

The North Carolina sideline will be equally as bedecked with Nike swooshes. Each pair of shoes on the Tar Heels’ sideline — from the starting quarterback’s to the assistant athletic trainer’s — will feature a Carolina blue swoosh.

A decade ago, athletic logos weren’t as omnipresent during college football games. But, as the sport has risen in popularity, Nike, Adidas and Under Armour have ratcheted up the stakes in the race to outfit the best teams and cater to the most lucrative fan bases.

This summer, the Business Journal filed a public records request for the shoe and apparel contract of every Football Bowl Subdivision team. Roughly half have responded.

This week, the Business Journal will take a weeklong look at the contracts and some of their jaw-dropping perks.

One example: Nike gets 110 tickets to a University of Oregon home football game in exchange for its financial support of the team. The seats must be field level between the 30-yard lines.

Another good one: When Under Armour executives fly to see the University of Hawaii play a football game, the university is required to help the executives find hotel rooms.

This week we’ll roll out a series of stories that illustrates the contracts of the four biggest conferences.

Here’s the gameplan:

    Monday: Nike and Adidas on campus: Big winners in the Big 12
    Tuesday: Big Ten
    Wednesday: SEC
    Thursday: Pac-12

The series will culminate with a story in Friday’s print edition that takes a deep look at the numbers and the contracts.

Want to know more about your team’s shoe deal? Drop me a line via email or Twitter at @matthewkish.

The Portland Business Journal is a news partner.