adidas Is Going to Stop Designing NBA Uniforms After the 2016-17 Season

The brand will cease to be the NBA's official apparel partner.

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Signed to a massive 11-year/$400 million deal, adidas has been the NBA's official apparel partner since 2006, pumping out as many short-sleeved jerseys and bizarrely themed/gimmick jerseys as the NBA's online store would carry. To date, pair has had a seemingly prosperous relationship—as early as 2012, adidas and the league began discussing terms to extend the current deal beyond 2017. Today, however, adidas has announced that it has walked away from negotiations, and won't be working any further to score an extension. This comes after the NBA told adidas last Friday that they'd like to open up rights negotiations with other companies. According to the Wall Street Journal, league executives have been growing concerned with adidas' shrinking basketball market share. 

Speaking to the Portland Business JournalChris Grancio, adidas' global basketball general manager, was blunt about the brand's own self-described shortcomings. In the minds of adidas brass, another massive contract with the NBA wasn't going to help bridge the gap between themselves and Nike and Jordan brand, two companies that have combined to account for 96 percent of basketball sneaker sales. 

"We haven't been able to elevate our brand for the basketball consumer that we're targeting," Grancio said. "We ultimately decided that we would change our investment strategy and invest more in players on the court."

Grancio stresses that adidas basketball, which does annual sales of over $1 billion, isn't scaling down, but rather reinvesting elsewhere. As part of their new five-year plan for basketball relevance, adidas will double their basketball sponsorship roster from 70 to 140 over the next five years, invest in more high school and college teams, and higher new designers. 

"We thought now was the best time to finalize some key decisions. The NBA is a great partner. We think there are bigger opportunities in terms of player marketing and brand marketing," added Grancio. 

Almost immediately after the news broke, Twitter started celebrating:

And plotting on the next move on behalf of the NBA and potential new partners. Nike and Under Amour must smell blood in the water. Will Champion get involved too? 

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[via Portland Business Journal]

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