Under Armour has just given a huge wake-up call to Nike.
The Maryland-based sports equipment and apparel company has offered Kevin Durant a 10-year deal worth between $265-285 million, according to an ESPN report. The deal includes stock offers and other incentives for Durant.
Nike has the option to match the offer from Under Armour. If they choose to do so, Durant would be contractually obligated to stay with them.
Durant visited the UA headquarters last week and ended up staying there the entire day despite only planning to remain for a few hours. ESPN described UA’s pitch to Durant as impressive. They say he even worked out in their basketball shoes.
Only a tiny portion of UA’s annual revenue comes from basketball-related products, so this would be a huge way for them to grow in the market. They already made a big move last year by signing Steph Curry away from Nike and are looking to steal another one of the swoosh’s top athletes.
A big part of their sales pitch will be tying together theirs and Durant’s DC/Maryland-area roots. UA’s headquarters are less than 40 miles from where Durant grew up.
Durant wanted to sign with Nike so badly coming out of college that he turned down an offer from adidas for 33 percent more money — $20 million in all. Will he be as generous this time around? We will soon find out, but one thing is for certain — his new representation at Roc Nation Sports has him shopping for the best deal.
Kevin Durant will not be an NBA free agent until 2016, but he is currently in the middle of a different kind of free agency.
Durant’s contract with Nike is expiring and he is being pursued by sports apparel giants Adidas and Under Armour. Nike, of course, wants to retain him. Of the three, UA might be the company to watch here.
The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola reports that Under Armour could offer Durant as much as $30 million a year.
While the number sounds outrageous — and we doubt they would offer him that much — it sure sounds like they mean business in these negotiations.
Under Armour pursuing Durant and potentially signing him could have other implications. UA is based out of Maryland, which is nearby Durant’s hometown of D.C. Ever since LeBron James decided to go home to Cleveland, there has been a lot of noise about Durant one day going to play for the Wizards. Durant even seems to be giving serious consideration to that possibility.
I would be shocked if Durant signed with Under Armour over Nike (with the implication being that UA outbid Nike by a large amount), but I doubt Isola would throw this out there if he didn’t have solid information on the matter. We’ll see what happens.
H/T Pro Basketball Talk
Notre Dame is switching equipment brands from adidas to Under Armour for all its sports teams, according to a report.
The Fighting Irish decided to shop around after its 10-year deal with adidas expired, and the change will happen at the end of the school year, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
Notre Dame first struck a deal with adidas in 1997. The sides reached a 10-year extension in 2005 that expires this school year. Notre Dame apparently used to be adidas’ top program, but that changed when they signed Michigan in 2008.
Adding Notre Dame is a huge move for Under Armour, which already outfits Auburn, Hawaii, Maryland, Texas Tech, Boston College, Utah, Northwestern, St. John’s, South Florida and South Carolina, among other colleges.
Though they are a relative newcomer in the sports apparel industry, Under Armour has already gained a huge market share and become a major player. Founded in 1996, the company is publicly traded and reported revenues of $1.83 billion in 2012.
Sports apparel company Under Armour distanced themselves from the controversial comments made by Phil Robertson, but it is standing by popular A&E show “Duck Dynasty.”
In an interview with GQ, Robertson, who is the patriarch of the family featured on the hit show, slammed homosexuality.
“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical,” the magazine quotes him as saying.
Robertson elaborated on what he considered sinful behavior.
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
Robertson also made comments about how he saw civil rights growing up in Louisiana.
A&E has suspended Robertson, one of the most popular characters on the show, indefinitely. Under Armour, which sells “Duck Dynasty” merchandise and outfits the “Buck Commander” spinoff show, does not agree with Robertson’s comments, but they have not cut ties with the show.
“The recent comments in the GQ article are not reflective of Under Armour’s beliefs and do not represent our point of view,” the company said in a statement. “As a company, we are committed to diversity and inclusion and believe in treating everyone equally and with respect.”
At last check, Duck Dynasty gear was not available on Under Armour’s website.