UPDATE: According to a source close to the situation, the reason that the NBA is opening up the bidding for their apparel contract was because of their dissatisfaction with adidas’ performance in recent years. It’s no secret that adidas is now the #3 sportswear brand in the U.S. behind Nike and Under Armour.
It is official, the next round of NBA jerseys and apparel will not belong to adidas as they released a statement today stating that they will not renew their contract with the league after the 2016-17 season. It is crazy to think adidas has been the league’s apparel provider since 2006. During that time adidas (like it or not) has been innovative in the space, introducing sleeved jerseys, oversized logos and first names on the backs of jerseys.
One cannot help but wonder what is coming next. Without question the two front runners to consider are Nike and Under Armour. There seems to be no chance that the latter will not aggressively chase the opportunity as Under Armour stands to gain the most from the opportunity and has most of its experience in performance apparel and footwear. Recently, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank was seen at NBA headquarters to meet with commissioner Adam Silver and was reportedly impressed with the brand.
We have all heard talks of selling advertisement space on NBA jerseys like they do in professional soccer as well, a practice that one can more easily imagine Under Armour agreeing to allow. Something about the idea of Nike sharing logo space, although they do it with their soccer kits, with other brands seems on an NBA uniform very unlikely.
It will be very interesting to see where the contract goes in 2017, Nike certainly will not make it easy on Under Armour. Who would you like to see get the NBA contract?