Tennessee to drop adidas, switch to Nike
Adidas lost its second big-name school this month when Tennessee announced via Twitter on Friday that it “has entered into a department wide apparel agreement with Nike.”
The orange-clad — and sometimes “smokey gray” — Volunteers were long-time patrons of Adidas, first reaching an agreement in 1995 and signing an extension in 2010 that runs through ’15.
“While we have had a successful partnership with Tennessee, we will not renew our agreement following the 2014-15 season,” adidas spokesperson Michael Ehrlich told SI.com.
Tennessee has entered into a department wide apparel agreement with @NIKE. Details to follow.
— Tennessee Athletics (@Vol_Sports) January 31, 2014
Earlier this month, Adidas lost its partnership with Notre Dame, which announced a mega-deal with Maryland-based Under Armour that was the largest marketing contract in the NCAA, according to Fighting Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
Michigan, an Adidas school, previously held that mark with an eight-year deal worth $8.2 million annually.
The Volunteers’ announcement comes on the heels of a 2013 redesign for the football program, which produced an alternate “smokey gray” uniform with VOLS on the chest and the state outline above player names on the back.
Tennessee also made changes to its primary home and road uniforms, with a checkerboard pattern matching the end zone design at Neyland Stadium added to the orange numbers on the white jersey. The orange jersey also added the state outline on the back.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.