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Auburn Tigers, Nike Agree to Athletic Apparel Deal

John Cohen announces Nike deal
© Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK

Auburn University has sealed a monumental 10-year pact with Nike, marking a decisive departure from an 18-year partnership with Under Armour, as confirmed by university officials. The groundbreaking agreement, slated to kick off in July 2025, culminates an exhaustive evaluation process initiated after the institution entered an exclusive negotiation window at the onset of September.

Under the stewardship of Athletic Director John Cohen and his team, Auburn meticulously navigated the competitive landscape of athletic apparel, fielding entreaties from both incumbent partner UA, keen on extending their tenure, and Adidas, determined to sway the Tigers to their brand. Cohen's prior experience with Adidas during his tenure as athletic director at Mississippi State from 2016-22 provided invaluable insight into the dynamics of such partnerships, enhancing Auburn's strategic decision-making process.

John Cohen Quote

“We are excited to enter this new partnership with Nike, a brand that consistently champions athletes and sports around the world," Cohen said in a news release. "We are appreciative of their strong support throughout this process. We believe that our 10-year agreement, beginning in July 2025, will continue to elevate Auburn and best serve our student-athletes and our university moving forward.


“We are also grateful to Kevin Plank and Under Armour for their 18 years of valued partnership in growing the Auburn brand and serving our student-athletes, coaches, and fans," he said. "We look forward to the opportunity to celebrate this relationship throughout the final year ahead.”

Stark Decline of Under Armour

In the heart of Auburn, a journey unfolded, entwining the university's athletic prowess with the rise and fall of a sportswear giant, Under Armour. It all began in 2006 when Auburn inked a historic deal with UA, marking the dawn of a new era in Tigers athletics.

The initial contract, a symbol of promise and ambition, laid the foundation for a partnership that would span nearly two decades. Fast forward to 2015, Auburn, an early adopter of UA, seized the opportunity to renegotiate its contract, redefining the landscape of collegiate sports marketing. The revamped deal, valued at a staggering $78.1 million, elevated Auburn's athletic program to new heights, with annual returns eclipsing previous benchmarks.

Yet, as fate would have it, the winds of change swept through the corridors of the Auburn Athletic offices. In a seismic shift, the university announced the termination of its long-standing collaboration with UA, signaling the end of an era. The decision reverberated through the halls of academia and the realm of sports business alike, casting a shadow over the once-thriving partnership. The dissolution of the contract not only marked a strategic pivot for Auburn but also shed light on the precarious financial landscape facing UA.

At the heart of the unraveling lay the fluctuating fortunes of UA stocks, once soaring to unprecedented heights only to plummet to alarming lows. Auburn, once buoyed by the promise of stock options, now found itself grappling with the stark reality of diminished returns. As UA stocks tumbled, so too did the value of Auburn's investments, serving as a poignant reminder of the inherent risks in the world of corporate partnerships.

The saga of Auburn's athletic odyssey, intricately intertwined with the ebbs and flows of UA's fortunes, underscored the volatile nature of modern sports economics. Yet, amidst the turmoil, a glimmer of hope emerged. With the dawn of a new apparel provider on the horizon, Auburn stands poised to embark on a new chapter, fueled by resilience, determination and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

Dawn of a New Deal: Auburn’s Return to Nike

Auburn prepares to embrace the dawn of a new chapter in its athletic journey. With the 2025-26 season on the horizon, the Tigers stand poised to debut a fresh look, adorned in Nike uniforms and apparel. For many fans, coaches and athletes, the transition to Nike represents the culmination of a long-awaited dream.

The campaign for change, fueled by a desire for innovation and excellence, has echoed through the halls of Auburn for years, gathering momentum with each passing season. Yet, this reunion with Nike is not merely a return to familiar territory—it is a homecoming decades in the making.

While the Tigers donned Russell Athletic uniforms for generations, the allure of Nike's iconic swoosh beckoned from afar. Even amidst their allegiance to Russell, many Auburn athletes proudly sported Nike cleats, a subtle nod to the brand's enduring influence. The roots of this reunion trace back to 1995 when Auburn stood on the cusp of a groundbreaking partnership with Nike.

Newspaper clippings from the time tell tales of offers too enticing to resist, as Nike beckoned both Auburn and Alabama with deals far surpassing their existing agreements with Russell Athletic. However, fate intervened, and the deal with Nike remained tantalizingly out of reach, relegated to the realm of what could have been. Yet, as the saying goes, all good things come to those who wait. And now, after years of anticipation, Auburn finds itself on the brink of realizing that long-deferred dream.

Auburn Tigers Nike
© Mickey Welsh/Advertiser/USA TODAY NETWORK

Come July 1, 2025, the hallowed grounds of Auburn will bear witness to a historic transformation, as Nike's esteemed partnership with the Tigers is reignited with vigor and zeal. With each swoosh emblazoned upon their uniforms, Auburn athletes will carry forth a legacy of excellence, emboldened by the spirit of collaboration and innovation that defines the Nike brand.

As the curtain rises on this new era, Auburn stands ready to embrace the future, guided by the timeless values of integrity, passion and a relentless pursuit of greatness. And with Nike by their side, the Tigers are poised to soar to new heights, leaving an indelible mark on the annals of collegiate athletics for generations to come.


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