Long-lasting Buffs-NIKE partnership has stood the test of time
ROCK – In terms of significant events in the history of athletics at the University of Colorado, October 9 will mark the 26th anniversary of one of the most significant moments in the annals of Buffaloes.
But neither Buff scored a touchdown, made a basket, or won a race that day. In fact, not a single CU team competed on October 9, 1995.
It was, however, the day that then-athletic director Bill Marolt announced the first Colorado-NIKE deal, a deal that at the time placed CU in an elite national company and has since turned out to be a stable and beneficial relationship for all parties involved. .
The original deal was the country’s third for any program with NIKE. It provided equipment and clothing for 15 of CU’s 17 varsity sports (all except skiing), as well as annual corporate sponsorship in cash.
Now CU is on their fourth contract with NIKE, with the latest deal being a 10-year deal that runs until the end of fiscal year 2024-25. Along with clothing, equipment, and cash sponsorship, the contract also provides performance bonuses for CU coaches, royalties for merchandise sold nationwide, and a summer internship each year for a student from first cycle of UC.
But while the official clothing and sponsorship deal now enters its 27th year, Colorado’s relationship with the sportswear giant dates back nearly four decades. The Colorado soccer team began wearing NIKE gear in 1983, men’s basketball joined the swoosh group in 1990, and the volleyball program followed suit two years later.
The two have also worked on clothing and equipment initiatives, including innovations such as football uniforms with built-in cooling systems.
CU has had the opportunity to explore other options over the years. But at each contractual junction, the Buffs returned to the swoosh.
“Our partnership is one of the most lasting partnerships we have had at CU”, sporting director Rick george mentionned. “We very much appreciate our partnership and relationship and look forward to working with NIKE in the future. Their iconic brand associated with our iconic brand has created a relationship that has stood the test of time. Being one of the original Nike schools is a big part of who we are and our partnership is really special. “
CU’s contract with NIKE has been a boon in a number of areas, starting with the obvious clothing, equipment and cash support. When Colorado signed the initial deal in 1995, it put the Buffs into an elite national business, signaling that the CU brand was nationally recognized.
But what we also might not remember is that the initial deal also opened the door to better funding for women’s sport. The money and additional clothing / equipment allowed Colorado to use previously allocated funds for equipment for its new women’s golf and soccer programs, which began a year later.
This was an important step in CU’s commitment to comply with Title IX regulations and opened the door to more opportunities for women’s sport.
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