UCLA sued the athletic apparel company Under Armour Wednesday, alleging the company used the COVID-19 pandemic as a “pretext” to dissolve its $280 million sponsorship agreement with the university.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles federal court, alleges the company terminated its 15-year contract because the deal — among the largest apparel agreements in collegiate sports history — was too costly for the financially troubled company.
Under Armour said in a statement that while the company is “disappointed that UCLA elected to file suit, we are confident in our position and will defend it vigorously. We sought and remain open to working out a reasonable and appropriate transition for the university, and most importantly for the student-athletes.”
“In fact, at UCLA’s request after the termination of the agreement, Under Armour continued to deliver athletic products for the 2020-21 school year because we support athletes, even as it remains uncertain when sports will resume.”
The lawsuit alleging breach of contract seeks more than $200 million in damages.
Under Armour and UCLA signed the deal in May 2016 with the apparel and footwear company agreeing to provide the Bruins with at least $280 million in financial support, including monetary payments and products over 15 years. The deal went into effect in July 2017.
“By 2020, Under Armour wanted to get out of that deal–not because of anything UCLA did, but because the deal now seemed too expensive for the financially troubled sportswear company,” UCLA alleges in the suit.
“Under Armour decided that it would use the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to `terminate’ the sponsorship agreement. But neither the governing agreement nor the law allows Under Armour to do so. This action seeks to hold Under Armour to the promises that it made.”
Under Armour announced in June it was pulling out of the contract with UCLA because of losses stemming from the shutdown of college athletics due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Baltimore-based company said.
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