The University of Michigan is one of the member institutions in the college athletics groups commonly referred to as the "$100 Million Club," an elite group of schools that generate at least $100,000,000 in annual revenue. A large portion of that revenue comes from athletic sponsorship deals with apparel and equipment suppliers. When the university entered into an athletic sponsorship agreement with adidas that began in 2007, it was not a member of the $100 Million Club. As the contract term progressed, Michigan broke the lofty threshold and continues to do so as its contractual relationship with adidas comes to an end. The deal with adidas was the most lucrative contract at its time, and the deal with Nike was also the most lucrative in college athletics until Nike decided to pay a bit more to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
For me, Michigan's relationship with Nike is a return to all that is good. I grew up wearing my maize and blue Michigan swag with the symbolic swoosh in some visible place. So, when the adidas contract kicked in gear my freshman year, I refused to buy new apparel adidas made with the exception of the annual football t-shirt and, eventually, my NFLPA-licensed #10 Tom Brady jersey. Nike is the big dog in the athletic apparel industry, and it only seemed right that Nike and Michigan, a big dog in college sports, work together.
You asked, and I'll answer. The fun does not stop there, though. This Question and Answer session on this significant contract can show how the sponsorship market has evolved and where changes in the current NCAA "collegiate model" could take place.