Even though Arizona will receive an average annual package of about $3.8 million from its newly extended partnership with Nike, the Wildcats will actually take home only about $500,000 in cash.

Still, compared with their old contract, that’s a pretty good deal.

Because the old cash figure was often a negative one.

“There were years we were writing a check,” Arizona AD Greg Byrne said.

Arizona often significantly overran what was a $1 million annual allowance for Nike gear and equipment, which quickly mopped up the $25,000 in cash Nike also offered.

But now, according to contracts obtained by the Star under a public records request, the new UA-Nike deal gives the school $2.15 million worth of gear and equipment, with escalators that raise the amount to $2.6 million by 2023, plus the $500,000 in cash.

The 10-year deal also incorporates $680,000 worth of individual payments Nike gives to coaches, ranging up to the $200,000 that football coach Rich Rodriguez and basketball coach Sean Miller each receive.

ASU, however, just began a $4.2 million deal with Adidas this year and Pac-12 rival UCLA gets $7.5 million from Adidas, so it’s possible UA might have been able to secure a more lucrative deal had it looked to Adidas or Under Armour when its old Nike agreement was set to expire in 2019.

But even considering that, Byrne said he was more than satisfied with the Nike arrangement, in part because UA would have been locked into the old money-losing deal until 2019 anyway.

“They had us for another four years but they gave us more than double and sped up the process” by tearing up the old contract, Byrne said. “We really appreciate it.”

Of course, the deal isn’t just about money, either. When the agreement was announced earlier this month, Byrne said UA found through conversations with its athletes, staff and coaches that Nike remained their preferred choice for gear and equipment.

Certainly, it was for Miller.

“Our relationship with Nike on the basketball side, I can’t imagine a better, more rewarding relationship … with the tradition and history and how it is today,” Miller said. “We love our affiliation with them and our guys get treated like gold. They really do.”

Nike did not respond to a request for comment but its director of college sports marketing said in a statement that the company was looking forward “to working together (with UA) for many years to come.”

Here’s how the new deal, which became effective during the current school year, breaks down annually through its 2025 expiration:

Nike gives Arizona:

  • $2.150 million in gear and equipment.

(Amount rises to $2.35 million in 2019-20, to $2.4 million in 2021-22 and to $2.6 million in 2023-24).

  • A $500,000 licensing payment.
  • $680,000 in payments to individual UA coaches
  • A $150,000 prorated amount of $1.5 million signing bonus (already received)
  • 13 percent royalty on all UA-Nike licensed products sold at retail
  • $26,000 total paid to two UA students who work Nike internships

Total value in 2015-16: $3.51 million plus royalties

Arizona provides Nike:


Football: 10 (plus two sideline passes and one press box pass) for home games, four for away games. Plus 42 extra tickets to one mutually agreed upon game.

Men’s basketball: Six, plus 14 extra tickets for one mutually agreed upon game

Women’s basketball: Six

All other programs: Four


  • VIP parking at football and basketball games, plus an area within football tailgate zone for Nike hospitality events to be paid for by Nike
  • Mutually determined number of camera-visible Nike signs at football and basketball games, plus high-traffic area at football and basketball games Nike can sell products
  • Mutually agreed mentions on electronic message boards at games
  • 30-second mentions of Nike as sponsor on coaches shows for football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball


  • Arizona’s base compensation will be cut 75 percent if the football or men’s basketball programs are banned from TV for a year, and a 50 percent reduction if women’s basketball is banned.
  • Arizona’s base compensation will be cut 10 percent if three or more skill position football players appear on field with footwear that has Nike logo taped or otherwise covered up (25 percent reduction on second occurrence and 50 percent reduction on third).

Coach compensation

How the $680,000 Nike gives UA coaches breaks down, as listed in the revised licensing agreement signed in April 2015:

Rodriguez, football $200,000

Miller, men’s basketball $200,000

Andy Lopez*, baseball $85,000

Mike Candrea, softball $50,000

Fred Harvey, track and field $30,000

Jim Anderson, men’s golf $25,000

Niya Butts, women’s basketball $25,000

Dave Rubio, volleyball $15,000

Rick DeMont, swimming $10,000

Laura Ianello, women’s golf $10,000

Anthony Amato, women’s soccer $10,000

Tad Berkowitz, men’s tennis $5,000

Vicky Maes, women’s tennis $5,000

Bill Ryden*, women’s gymnastics $5,000

Steve Walker, sand volleyball $5,000

*Lopez and Ryden have both left the program since the contract was signed.

Sportswriter for the Arizona Daily Star covering Arizona Wildcats basketball