A Nike program since 1999, the Florida Gators recently signed a seven-year extension with the industry leader, pushing their contract through April 1, 2024.
According to the Portland Business Journal, which obtained a copy of Florida’s contract the week of Jan. 15, the Gators will receive “$3.1 million in Nike product this academic year, one of the highest product allowances in the country and up from the $2.1 million it was previously due.” That total will increase by $100,000 every two years, concluding with a $3.5 million allowance for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons.
In other words, UF will receive a combined total of $2.1 million more in equipment and apparel over the next two seasons than was originally agreed upon when it last signed a contract with Nike in 2013, along with a total over the subsequent five seasons that will provide it with one of the highest allowances in the country.
Unlike many programs, Florida does not except cash from Nike. Why exactly is unknown, though it may be because the Gators do receive a $255,000 “discretionary apparel allowance” that they spend on merchandise for its staff as well as an undisclosed royalty for jerseys and performance items and 14 percent royalty for “net sales of all [other] Licensed Products” besides footwear, for which Nike pays out a three-percent royalty.
In an examination of other available contracts, OnlyGators.com could not find similar detailed royalties paid to other programs, though that does not mean they do not exist.
As a means of comparison, Alabama is set to receive $2.9 million in equipment and apparel, $780,000 in a cash payment and no discretionary apparel allowance for the 2015-16 season, totaling $315,000 more than Florida ($3.1 million, no cash, $255,000 allowance) will receive that year.
In-state rival Florida State will total $4.2 million ($1.1 million more than UF) in 2015-16 with a $2.8 million allowance and $1.4 million cash payment ($800,000 of which is used for the contracts of the head football and basketball coaches).
The Seminoles also received a $3 million “one-time commitment bonus” from Nike upon signing its 10-year deal in 2013; there is record of Florida obtaining a bonus but no information as to the amount.
As noted by Richard Johnson of The Independent Florida Alligator, who first brought this information to light on Wednesday, competing companies have been overpaying to either pry programs away from Nike or keep them from the apparel leader.
Under Armour reportedly paid Notre Dame between $90-$100 million to outfit the Fighting Irish over 10 years, and adidas has a deal with Michigan valued at over $80 million. The details of Miami’s agreement with adidas were not disclosed but a source told the Associated Press it was “multiple times” what Miami was receiving from Nike.
A source told OnlyGators.com on Wednesday that while the Gators do not plan to change their football uniforms (they were outfitted with new fonts for the jersey numbers in 2013), Florida head coach Jim McElwain is considering all options in terms of tradition-respecting special threads and alternates. Not including the orange jersey, which was added to the uniform collection as an alternate, Gators football has not worn tweaked uniforms since the 2011 Outback Bowl or a completely different set of threads since the Pro Combat Line included UF in 2010.
Gators basketball received updated uniforms for the 2014-15 campaign and has been the only one of the two programs to don special uniforms over the last few seasons, including wearing the Nike Hyper Elite line in back-to-back contests this week.