We are right in the middle of the NCAA’s March Madness college basketball tournament. This year, the tournament is being held in New Orleans, featuring the 64 teams that the bracket committee revealed several days ago. As the number one seed, Gonzaga is one of the favorites to win the championship. Other teams that have highly favorable odds include Arizona, Kansas, and Tennessee.
As per usual, Nike will be the primary shoe and jersey partner for the overall tournament. However, the number of teams they are representing this year has dropped by nine, from 48 to 39 teams. Under Armour and Adidas now represent 15 and 14 teams, respectively, an increase of roughly 50% for both brands.
Nike actually lost ten sponsorships this year but regained one after partnering with UCLA following the school’s publicized split from Under Armour that involved a lawsuit claiming several hundred million dollars worth of damages. While Nike/Jordan continue to lead the school sponsorship by a comfortable margin, this drop in representation is worth monitoring over the next couple of years. Seeing Under Armour and Adidas grow their presence in March Madness sponsorship might indicate more overall competition in the sneaker industry.