One of the most easily recognizable features of the uniform worn by Buckeyes players at Ohio State is the little Nike tick, found on the jerseys of the universityís 39 varsity teams. The symbol represents the $16.8 million paid, annually, to the school in sponsorship money, which means that Nike are able to advertise themselves on the chests of some of the best college athletes in the country. Since Nike first signed a jersey sponsorship deal with the Georgetown Hoyas in 1992, revamping their entire uniform, they have continued on their complete domination of the college sport industry, and now pay $7 billion in sponsorship commitments, currently covering around ninety college teams.
Nikeís longtime rival brand, Adidas, has also made use of the expanding world of college sport, in order to promote their brand and form alliances with the biggest teams. Major teams like the Wisconsin Badgers, and Texas Aggies have all signed massive sponsorship agreements with Adidas, worth millions of dollars. Despite this, Adidas still only provides kits for 5% of the USís top 20 NCAA teams Ė a tiny amount when compared to Nikeís 85% share.
However, this is far from a two horse race. Under Armour, a much smaller brand than Nike and Adidas, have recently became a favorite among collegiate teams up and down the country. This year, the UCLA Bruins, previously sponsored by Adidas, signed a massive $280 million deal with the company Ė the biggest sponsorship deal ever seen in NCAA history - cementing the brand as a major player in college sport.
Sponsoring college teams has become, across the past decades, a major source of expenditure and promotion for these brands. Across the 2014-15 season, a massive $1.2 billion was spent on sponsorship alone. Nike remains the top brand, spending almost 43 times more than the average sponsor did in one season. Despite this, Under Armourís deal with Notre Dame, Indiana ensures that the Fighting Irish get the most of any sponsorship recipient, as they receive around 4 times more in revenue from their sponsorship deal than any other school.