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Under Armour Ending Licensing Deal With NFL

Sports clothing and equipment company Under Armour is preparing to end its licensing contract with the National Football League, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Under Armour has not officially confirmed the contract termination, but the Financial Times reported this week the deal will end later this year.

The company’s licensing deal with the NFL allowed the brand to be displayed on accessories such as gloves and boots during games. The arrangement has been somewhat awkward over the past week, as Nike is the official supplier of uniforms and apparel for the NFL, but Under Armour has a licensing agreement with Tom Brady, who took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an historic Super Bowl victory on Sunday. During a post-game interview, Brady courted some controversy as some sports writers claimed he hiked up his uniform to cover the Nike logo.

If Under Armour does in fact cancel its contract with the NFL the appearance of the Under Armour brand could well be affected, but it’s not clear yet how contracts with individual players like Brady might be affected.

Under Armour’s deal with the NFL was worth an estimated $10 to $15 million a year, and comes as Under Amour cuts back on some of its major apparel contracts with sports teams and programmes.

The US company is in the midst of a restructuring, which took effect prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has similarly cut ties with university sports programs at the University of California – Los Angeles, and the University of California – Berkeley, with those deals worth more than $300 million combined. Under Armour also canceled its 10 year contract with Major League Baseball after only four years, which allowed Nike to take over the rights last year.

Senior vice-president of global sports marketing at Under Armour, Sean Eggert, said in a statement to the Financial Times that the company is looking at different types of sponsorship.

“We are in active conversations with the NFL to determine alternative opportunities that best serve athletes moving forward and to ensure the best for Under Armour,” Eggert said.

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