A deal reached on Wednesday between the USA Track & Field team and the behemoth apparel brand ensures American athletes will be sporting the iconic Nike swoosh for decades to come. While the terms of the 23-year extension are being kept under wraps, sources anticipate that the agreement is in the $450 – $500 million range, making it one of the most lucrative sponsorships in sports history. USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel notes the significance of this partnership moving forward:
“This new deal is a game-changer for the sport and what USATF will be able to offer all our constituents. Nike’s support for USA Track & Field and sport as a whole is unmatched, and we look forward to this new era of collaboration.”
Nike, the USA Track & Field partner since 1991, last negotiated the deal in 2009. At that time, the footwear conglomerate agreed to a contract running through 2017 in the ballpark of $10 million a year in cash and goods. But given the increasing importance (as well as cost) of sports sponsorships, Nike decided that now was the right time to lock up Team USA long term, through 2040. Subsequently, Nike will continue to serve as the exclusive apparel sponsor for all U.S. athletes competing in World Championships and the Olympics – even athletes with pre-existing shoe sponsorships from rival companies.
The anticipated growth of Nike’s $4.2 billion running business suggests this extension is well timed, particularly as Team USA prepares for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Athletes expected to compete include gold-medalist sprinters Sanya Richards-Ross, Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter, silver medalist Galen Rupp and decathlon competitor Ashton Easton, who won gold in the 2012 London Games. And while it’s no secret that many of these world-class athletes still serve as relative unknowns to the majority of us fans, at least we know what logo they’ll be wearing.