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Nike it is: Auburn athletics announces change in apparel provider

Justin Hokansonby:Justin Hokanson04/09/24


AUBURN — Auburn athletics has officially announced a change in apparel provider. The university will switch from Under Armour to Nike, the athletics department announced.

“We are excited to enter this new partnership with Nike, a brand that consistently champions athletes and sport around the world,” Auburn athletics director John Cohen said in a statement. “We are appreciative of their strong support throughout this process. We believe that our 10-year agreement, beginning in July 2025, will continue to elevate Auburn and best serve our student-athletes and our university moving forward.

“We are also grateful to Kevin Plank and Under Armour for their 18 years of valued partnership in growing the Auburn brand and serving our student athletes, coaches, and fans. We look forward to the opportunity to celebrate this relationship throughout the final year ahead.”

Auburn has been partnered with Under Armour as its apparel provider since 2006, but the agreement between the two sides is set to expire after June 2025. The university entered a negotiating period Sept. 1 that allows it to have communication with other potential providers.

Auburn Live reported on March 10 that the trajectory was for Auburn to switch from Under Armour to Nike, and said at that point, it would be a surprise if a change to Nike didn’t happen. Auburn Live reported then that Apple CEO Tim Cook was an impactful person in making sure Auburn and Nike both had open minds and ample opportunity to listen to each other’s best pitches.

Sources confirmed to Auburn Live then that marketing resources were already being worked on and timing of the announcement was already being discussed. According to sources, Under Armour was aware of Auburn’s impending move by the middle of March.

Sources have also told Auburn Live that football coach Hugh Freeze, basketball coach Bruce Pearl, and most other head coaches in the athletic department preferred a move to Nike.

AD John Cohen said recently on The Next Round radio and YouTube program, “We feel like we’re in a very, very positive place right now. I think our fanbase (and) everyone connected with Auburn is going to be very pleased with where we are. Just not ready to release because not all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. … We’re excited about where we are and excited the future in that area. We feel like, again, our student-athletes all the way to our fans and alumni are really going to enjoy it.”

Cohen added, “Those shoes you put on — they’re not just a uniform. They’re part of the anatomy. We’ve gotten a lot of input from student-athletes, from fans, from our coaches and staff members, all the stakeholders of Auburn University. And we listened.”

Cohen’s comment was an obvious hint towards the opportunity to wear Nike and Jordan shoes, which carry incredible brand identity and credibility around the world.

In 2015, Auburn and the organization restructured their contract, which now runs through 2025 and is worth $78.1 million.

The deal stipulated that Auburn accept $10 million worth of stock from the company. Per Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, Auburn’s deal was one of Under Armour’s 10 most lucrative at the college level last year.

Sources tell Auburn Live that while adidas was also under consideration, they were never a serious threat.

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