Sun Devil Athletics and Adidas' contract not yet finalized

ASU athletes have been wearing Adidas gear for over 18 months

Sun Devil Athletics and the apparel-footwear giant adidas have not yet finalized the sponsorship contract the two sides announced nearly two years ago, The State Press has learned.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act inquiry, submitted on Nov. 1, which requested a copy of the eight-year agreement, ASU’s Office of General Counsel replied that it did not “have a finalized, fully executed agreement between ASU and adidas and a completion timeline has not been set.” 

The OGC invited another public records request in the future when the contract was finalized, but did not give any indication of when the records might be available for public review.

In response to another Freedom of Information Act inquiry, this one submitted on December 14 (which requested any Letters of Intent and/or Memoranda of Understanding exchanged between ASU and adidas), the OGC stated that the "Negotiation of this contract is still active." It indicated that it would hold the FOIA request until the documents became available.

ASU athletes have worn adidas-branded apparel and footwear since the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year, meaning that the Sun Devils and adidas have been operating without a finalized agreement for nearly 18 months (almost two full years since the partnership was announced in December 2014.) The deal, valued at $33.8 million, runs until June 2023 and is worth more than twice the amount than ASU’s previous agreement with Nike.

Neither Sun Devil Athletics nor adidas immediately responded to requests for comment.

Although delays between the announcement and finalization of collegiate apparel deals are not unusual (it took Michigan and Nike almost 10 months to finalize their sponsorship agreement), most contracts are available for public review within a year after their public announcements. It is likely that ASU and Adidas have been proceeding on the terms of an offer sheet, which includes the bones of an agreement but not its details (basically a contract-lite.)

The adidas deal — the value of which was in the top-10 of all collegiate apparel deals at the time of its announcement — is arguably the centerpiece of Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director Ray Anderson’s tenure in Tempe. Anderson lauded the agreement when it was first publicized, stating that it was a “partnership decision that will undoubtedly advance our brand based on the innovation of the company and commitments that Adidas has outlined.”

But that partnership has, evidently, yet to be formally executed, inviting speculation on the status of the agreement between the two sides. Anderson did, however, attend a fundraiser sponsored by Adidas and chaired by the company's North American subdivision on Wednesday evening.

This story will be updated when more information becomes available. 


Reach the columnist at cameron.miller.1@asu.edu or follow @camerun_miller on Twitter.

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