While it’s anyone’s guess as to which team will cut down the nets in AT&T Stadium on April 7, the consensus favorite on the apparel front is Nike.
Last season, Nike and its Jordan subsidiary sponsored more than three-quarters (76 percent) of the 68 teams in the NCAA Men’s Div. I Basketball Championship, topping rival adidas by a 52-to-13 margin. And while the numbers are down this year, the Selection Sunday brackets suggest that the Swoosh will run the floor again in North Texas.
Forty-three of the college hoops teams that qualified for the tourney are sporting the Nike logo on their unis and sneakers, while Albany and North Carolina rock the Jordan brand. Adidas outfits 18 teams, Russell is splashed on the jerseys and shorts of three clubs, and upstart Under Armour backs two teams.
Moreover, the No. 1 seeds are Florida, Virginia, Arizona and Wichita State—all four of which are Nike loyalists.
The most lucrative apparel contract belongs to Michigan, which receives $2.2 million per year in gear from adidas, along with $3.8 million in cash. That’s three times what projected top seed Florida earns from its Nike contract; the Gators get a $2.1 million equipment and apparel allowance and no cash. (Financial details were furnished by former NBA TV president Ed Dessner in a January report filed on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA.)
March Madness tips off on Tuesday, March 18, on truTV.