College Sports Sponsorships and Brand Partnerships

 
 College Sports Sponsorships and Brand Partnerships
 
In 2016, Nike made a significant landmark in collegiate sports and sponsorship by extending its partnership with Ohio State University. It was a partnership of $252 million for 15 years. Wall Street, afterwards, estimated that it would be $102 million in cash and $112 million products-wise. It was more than the $169 million that Nike gave the University of Michigan in 2015, but it's not the only brand doing this.
 
Under Armour gave $90 million to Notre Dame, and many other brands did the same. Even CBS and other media brands sponsor college sports because the TV deals favour them. Apart from the kit manufacturers, which are the usual suspects, sports betting companies also sponsor a lot of these teams. It's one of the reasons college football betting has become so huge and accessible.
 
In the face of these significant investments, you might ask, why do brands splurge their money on college sports, training athletes that are not fully developed yet? This article will explain what you need to know.
 
3 Reasons Brands Support College Sports
There are three core reasons why the biggest brands are happy to support college sports.
 
1. Merchandise
Brands always want visibility, and getting their logos on TV sports shows and social media is a way people can make subconscious decisions to buy from them. With the fans of college teams watching their favourite teams on Fox Sports, CBS, and ESPN, the teams that perform while wearing a brand's logo are most likely the team that would be loved.
 
Everyone loves a winning team, and people often want to buy what the winning team wears. It's why you buy the jerseys of your favourite athletes and wear Jordan Brand-made shoes.
 
2. Secure Access to Athletes
The greatest athletes are incorporated into the payroll of these brands. An athlete like Michael Jordan gets paid a lot of money just to sell Nike to a larger audience.
 
He does this by merely wearing and doing commercials with the shoes Nike makes. Sponsoring college athletes makes it easier to get to these students when they become professionals since the brands invested in their school teams.
 
3. Partnership with a Winning Team
Everyone loves a winning team, and their success will eventually lead to a brand's success. This is why the top-ranking college teams get the best sponsorship deals.
 
Biggest Brands Sponsoring College Sports
Brands that sponsor sports keep the activity alive. In return, they rake in profits from increased sales and engagements. Here are some of the biggest brands behind college sports.
 
1. Nike
Nike is considered the most prominent sports brands globally. They sponsor both individual athletes and teams. Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, and Tiger Woods are prime examples of the individuals they have partnered with for mutual benefits.
 
Of the 130 FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision of NCAA Division I) teams, Nike sponsors 79 of them. That's a 61.7% stake.
 
2. Adidas
Adidas is another global brand that has supported a variety of games like golf, cricket, baseball, hockey, rugby, and tennis on the college front. It has also made deals with teams like AC Milan, Real Madrid, and several others. But it's also the sponsor for the universities of Miami, Texas, Arizona State, Kansas, and Indiana, amongst others.
 
Recently, it was announced that the brand planned to sign over 50,000 student-athletes across 109 Division 1 schools. Some of its biggest deals are with the University of Nebraska Huskers ($7.52 million annually between 2017-2029), the University of Washington Huskies ($7.57 million annually between 2019 and 2029), the University of Kansas Jayhawks ($8.8 million annually between 2017-2031), and University of Louisville Cardinals ($10.66 million annually between 2018–2028).
 
3. Under Armour
Giving a chance to young athletes, this brand provided $361 million in sponsorships in 2020. This was 50% more than the amount they committed to sports and sponsorships in 2019.
 
Of course, it's a strategy for profits, but it's also a means to promote collegiate athletics and athletes. Under Armour supports the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins with $12.76 million annually between 2017 to 2032, the University of Wisconsin Badger with $6.8 million annually (2016–2026), and Auburn University Tigers with $5.86 million annually between 2016–2025.
 
Conclusion
Sponsoring college sports has been a way for brands to gain more customers. These are fans of athletes who extend their love for them by buying apparel from their sponsors. In total, 52.3% of FBS Football program teams belong to Nike, while Adidas has 28.5% and Under Armour with 13.1%.
 
The SEC (The Southeastern Conference) has nine schools sponsored by Nike, two by Adidas, and two by Under Armour. The ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) has nine schools sponsored by Nike (64.3%), three by Adidas (21.4%), and one by Jordan Brand (7.1%). The list continues, and it shows the power of brands in sports.