North Carolina’s Nike Sponsorship Deal Has Grown By 20x Since 1993

North Carolina's Nike Sponsorship Deal Has Grown By 20x Since 1993

Key Highlights:

  • The UNC-Nike deal has grown by 20x in total value since 1993
  • North Carolina’s Nike sponsorship deal has doubled in value on a per-year basis
  • Nike sponsors 60 NCAA schools including 60% of Power Five schools
  • Nike has 3 of the top 5 most expensive sponsorship deals in college sports

Nike first sponsored the North Carolina Tar Heels in 1993, after beating the Fab Five and the Michigan Wolverines to win the National Championship.

It was the Tar Heels’ first national title since Michael Jordan left for the NBA, which allowed UNC to sign a lucrative school-wide sponsorship deal for $4.7 million. Today, that deal is more than $95 million and it has more than doubled in value on a year-by-year basis.

In 2018, North Carolina inked a 10-year school-wide sponsorship deal worth $95 million. At $9.5 million per year, the contract is one of the most expensive NCAA sponsorship deals in college sports.

In fact, it is Nike’s second-most lucrative sponsorship deal, just behind the Texas Longhorns ($9.76 million per year) and the fourth-largest among all NCAA schools.

Only Ohio State (16.8 million), Louisville ($16 million), and Texas ($9.76 million) have netted bigger sponsorship deals.

Could UCLA Be Setting Itself Up For A Record Payout In 2026?

Of course, North Carolina isn’t the only Nike-sponsored school with a chance to make history.

UCLA set the record for the biggest sponsorship deal ever after signing with the apparel brand Under Amor in 2020. However, Under Armor decided to terminate the deal just one year later and paid the Bruins $67.5 million to terminate the deal.

The Bruins quickly signed with Nike thereafter in a deal worth $47.5 million over six years. The deal, which runs through 2026, was worth $10.2 million in 2021 but dropped to $7 million in 2022 and will increase by just $125,000 per year before topping out at $7.5 million in 2026.

While UCLA left more than $99 million on the table after the settlement, the Bruins will be free agents as a member of the Big Ten in 2026 and could be setting themselves up for a historic sponsorship deal.

List of NCAA Schools Sponsored by Nike

All in all, Nike sponsors 60 NCAA schools, including 60 percent of Power Five teams.

Here is a list of Nike-sponsored schools, according to the official Nike website:

  • Alabama A&M Bulldogs
  • Alabama Crimson Tide
  • Arizona Wildcats
  • Arkansas Razorbacks
  • Army Black Knights
  • Baylor Bears
  • Bethune-Cookman Wildcats
  • Boise State Broncos
  • BYU Cougars
  • Central State Marauders
  • Clark Atlanta Panthers
  • Clemson Tigers
  • Colorado Buffaloes
  • Delaware State Hornets
  • Duke Blue Devils
  • Florida Gators
  • Florida State Seminoles
  • Georgia Bulldogs
  • Gonzaga Bulldogs
  • Houston Cougars
  • Howard Bison
  • Illinois Fighting Illini
  • Iowa Hawkeyes
  • Kansas State Wildcats
  • Kentucky State Thorobreds
  • Kentucky Wildcats
  • LSU Tigers
  • Memphis Tigers
  • Michigan State Spartans
  • Michigan Wolverines
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers
  • Morehouse Tigers
  • Norfolk State Spartans
  • North Carolina A&T Aggies
  • North Carolina Central Eagles
  • North Carolina Tar Heels
  • Ohio State Buckeyes
  • Oklahoma Sooners
  • Oklahoma State Cowboys
  • Oregon Ducks
  • Oregon State Beavers
  • Penn State Nittany Lions
  • Purdue Boilermakers
  • Spelman College Jaguars
  • Stanford Cardinal
  • Syracuse Orange
  • TCU Horned Frogs
  • Tennessee State Tigers
  • Tennessee Volunteers
  • Texas Longhorns
  • Texas Southern Tigers
  • Tuskegee Golden Tigers
  • UCLA Bruins
  • UConn Huskies
  • USC Trojans
  • Villanova Wildcats
  • Virginia Cavaliers
  • Virginia Tech Hokies
  • Washington State Cougars
  • West Virginia Mountaineers
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