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Nike & Under Armour at Odds Over Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders is an Under Armour ambassador but will be required to wear Nike apparel while coaching at Colorado.
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It is nearly impossible to overshadow the NCAA football conference championship weekend. While professional sports and domestic politics struggled to garner attention, only one man was capable of grabbing the limelight - Deion Sanders.

On Saturday, the University of Colorado announced the hiring of Sanders to serve as the head coach of the Buffaloes football team. Hiring one of the most highly-sought after coaches was a major win for the lowly Pac-12 school. However, Nike and Under Armour are still battling over "Prime Time."

Nike

Sanders cemented his legacy by playing in two professional sports leagues in his heyday. The generational talent double-dipped in the NFL and MLB throughout most of his career. Sanders' unmatched athleticism and equally magnetic personality netted him every sponsorship deal imaginable.

Sanders was already an icon thanks to his play on the field, but Nike helped elevate the superstar to new heights. The Oregon-based company launched multiple sneakers as part of Sanders' signature line, which was just as successful on the sales floor as its namesake was on the gridiron or diamond.

Deion Sanders swings during a baseball game.

Deion Sanders swings during an MLB game.

Under Armour

After Sanders' playing days ended, the sports legend signed an endorsement contract with Under Armour. As an ambassador for the Maryland-based company, Sanders enjoyed a resurgence in the retail world with new apparel and sneakers. 

In fact, after accepting the head coaching job at Jackson State, Sanders was influential in the school's new apparel deal. Shortly after Sanders took over the football program, Jackson State left Nike to sign a five-year apparel deal with Under Armour.

Deion Sanders speaks at a press conference.

Deion Sanders speaks at a press conference.

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Why It Matters

There was heavy speculation in 2020 that Jackson State would leave Nike for Under Armour. During his introductory press conference, Sanders made sure not to wear any Jackson State clothing that bore the Swoosh logo.

However, that was not the case this past weekend in Boulder. Sanders wore a cap with a clearly-visible Swoosh logo on the side. Unlike Jackson State, it is unlikely that Colorado will make a change in sponsorship. 

Deion Sanders speaks at an introductory press conference.

Deion Sanders sits at a podium during his press conference.

Colorado has been a Nike school since 1995 and is currently in its fourth contract with the sports apparel behemoth. Colorado's ten-year deal with Nike does not expire until the end of the 2024-25 fiscal year.

Fans should not expect the Buffaloes to make a switch anytime soon, or perhaps ever. However, Sanders' contractual obligations with Under Armour might be a different story. We will keep readers updated as the story unfolds.

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