A lawsuit against Under Armour filed by UCLA will carry on as planned.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Thursday rejected the sportswear maker’s attempt to dismiss the suit, which seeks more than $200 million in damages related to a breach of contract. UCLA initially sued Under Armour in August of 2020, alleging that the company did not honor the terms of their $280 million contract by failing to meet scheduled payments and product deliveries and pulling out of the deal before the contract ended.
Under Armour said it does not comment on pending litigation.
“Despite Under Armour’s expensive legal maneuvers, UCLA and fair play won today,” said UCLA’s vice chancellor for strategic communications Mary Osako. “The story of Under Armour’s corporate shenanigans and broken promises that left our student-athletes and the Bruin community out to dry is one that deserves to be told. We’re gratified that the court cleared the way for the case to proceed.”
The deal, inked in 2016, was the biggest footwear and apparel sponsorships in college sports history at the time. Under Armour pulled out of the 15-year partnership in June of 2020, citing the coronavirus’ impact on college sports. Under Armour said its contract has been breached because the baseball team had completed less than half of its games in the prior season.
In his rejection of Under Armour’s request for dismissal, Judge H. Jay Ford III wrote that documents could not establish that the pandemic had an impact on the terms of the deal.
“At best, they establish the existence of a pandemic and the public response thereto. They do not establish the impact of the pandemic on Under Armour’s or UCLA’s ability to perform under the agreement,” he wrote.
In the lawsuit, UCLA claimed that the reason behind the brand’s exit was its financial standing as opposed to the impact from the coronavirus pandemic. UCLA also stated that athletes and coaches wore Under Armour apparel in team meetings, training exercises and other activities.
“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,” the suit read. “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.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Under Armour misled UCLA about its financial standing before the deal was signed.
In December, after the deal with Under Armour dissolved, UCLA signed a six-year deal with Nike and Jordan Brand.