Ohio University Athletics Switches From Russell to Adidas Brands

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ATHENS, Ohio —Ohio University announced Tuesday it signed an eight-year contract with Adidas to begin July 2017.

The exclusive partnership includes official uniforms, apparel, accessories, and equipment for all varsity-level sports.

Ohio Athletic Director Jim Schaus said he is ecstatic to begin using the high-quality Adidas gear.

“They are a premiere brand which has stood for excellence in the sports world for nearly 100 years,” Schaus said.


Russell Contract

A Russell brand athlete's backpack.
A Russell brand athlete’s backpack.


Ohio partnered with Russell for over ten years. That agreement will expire June 30, 2017.

Russell’s last five-year contract extension in 2012 was valued at over $2.5 million dollars. It included products, sponsorship, and other benefits.

That figure compares to $3 million during the first five years of the Adidas’ contract, according to figures reported from Michael Stephens, Ohio University Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Operations.

The numbers increase in the last three years of the contract and include options for two one-year extensions.


New Contract Process


With the Russell contract set to expire, Ohio University opened the door for other brands.

“Everything here goes through a bid process,” Matt Morton, OU’s equipment manager said. “Companies that are interested in partnering with us put their proposals in.”

The athletic department then chooses the company which they believed would be the best fit.


Russell brand apparel being sold in stores.

Comparing the Two Brands


Many were quick to point out Adidas has a stronger national brand than Russell. Emily Deering, the student-athlete representative for student senate and a cross-country team member, said sometimes people didn’t know what Russell was.

“The change is pretty exciting,” Deering said. “Russell is a lower-known brand. It’s not super popular yet.”

Deering also said that Adidas’ apparel has better women’s cuts. As a runner, she said it helps her performance

“They have a lot of experience fitting women and the comfort is something to look forward too,” Deering said.


Looking Forward


Morton said the Adidas contract could help with recruiting as more prospective students will recognize the brand.

“Adidas is a strong worldwide brand,” he said. “Bottom line is the student athletes are familiar with them.

“They have a lot of networking and resources,” Deering said.

Schaus said OU will continue to wear Russell brand until June.