When Texas Longhorns interim athletic director Mike Perrin met with Nike officials in late September, Longhorns alum and NBA megastar Kevin Durant was reportedly a present and key player in those negotiations.
Oddly enough, the negotations between Texas and Nike this year and Durant and Nike last year played out in similar fashion. Under Armour offered Durant a 10-year, $250 million contract during the summer of 2014, but he ultimately stuck with Nike to ink a package that could reportedly total $300 million, just like the Horns stuck wtih Nike despite reports that Under Armour was willing to offer a monster compensation package.
Now Durant and Texas will benefit from the university's new deal with the apparel giant and industry leader, as Nike will produce a co-branded signature line of apparel from which the Horns will receive royalties. The deal was possible in large part because Durant's Nike line "has reached record levels in recent years compared to other pro athletes in Nike's portfolio," according to a term sheet released by the school.
Basketball will certainly be a key sport in that line as the school hopes to leverage the enthusiasm generated by new head coach Shaka Smart and combine it with Durant's proven broad appeal. The ability to use Durant's image and logo on Texas-branded apparel could be a major boon to the program by maintaining a strong connection between Durant's one year on campus and the current efforts to revive Longhorns basketball.
How it benefits footbal or other sports remains to be seen, but with Durant contributing $15 million to the school as part of the deal, this looks like even more of a win for the Horns.
The new apparel deal with Nike will also include $20 million up front to help an athletic department that has had to pay significant buyouts in both major sports since late 2013.