Michigan AD: Nike deal will be largest in nation

Former Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett listens to a question after being introduced as the University of Michigan’s interim athletic director during a news conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel announced that athletic director Dave Brandon resigned. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Michigan will regain one title.

After twice previously setting the industry standard for athletic footwear, apparel and equipment deals in 1994 and 2007, Michigan will be back on top.

U-M interim athletic director Jim Hackett confirmed Tuesday in a meeting with a small group of reporters that the school’s 10-year agreement with Nike will be the largest in the nation.

Though the largest reported deal is Notre Dame’s 10-year, $90 million agreement, Hackett did not want to announce the specifics of the term sheet the parties signed officially this week.

Those will come next week in a more formal rollout and he insisted the bottom line was not the ultimate goal.

Yet as he went through the process, one of the other athletic directors reminded him there was a badge of honor in the deal matching the athletic department’s profile.

” ‘I just want to set your mind in the right context, this is one of the most valuable brands — and he paused — in sports,’ ” Hackett recalled. ” ‘I’m talking about auto racing, golf, baseball, NFL, NBA, the Michigan brand Jim is one of the most valuable assets in sports.’ So of course I had a lot of pride hearing that but it really got me to think what does the most valuable brand in sports deserve?”

Hackett said all three proposals — the current provider Adidas and newcomer Under Armour — would have given U-M the most lucrative deal in college sports.

“They were close to each other,” Hackett said.

Michigan was previously making about $8.2 million on its Adidas deal which runs through the next year, ending in July of 2016.

The factors for Hackett and his team of decision-makers were the brand presence of Nike, the overwhelming endorsement of current and former athletes (he implied the U-M football player Jabrill Peppers constantly poked him about it and Jim Harbaugh said he wanted Nike on his second day) and the technology gains he saw from Nike about the future, thinking about this as a 15-year decision.