Even though the process is far from over, and all bids aren’t in yet, the word on the street is that Under Armour looks to be the leader in the sweepstakes to be UCLA's next apparel supplier.
There are some sources close to Adidas who actually have conceded this in private.
There are a few reasons.
Under Armour is surging as a company, and they’re trying to get more competitive with Nike. They’re based on the east coast (Baltimore, Maryland) and most of their schools are in the east. They want to desperately make some in-roads into the west, and want a big-named athletic department to be their flagship in the west.
For UCLA, there are some big advantages because of this.
I’ve heard UA is prepared to offer UCLA a very lucrative deal, one that will ultimately out-bid Adidas – and one that could very well make it the biggest apparel deal for an athletic department in the nation. That's a big part of it all -- whoever can give UCLA the nation's biggest apparel deal will have a big advantage, and it looks like UA wants to do that.
The feeling is that, as UA’s west coast flagship, UCLA would get a great deal of attention from UA. With Utah (and now) Cal being the only Under Armour schools in the Pac-12, the thought is that Under Armour wouldn’t have to spread its Pac-12 attention too thin.
In terms of pure brand, there are some that believe UA is perhaps a better option than Adidas. Nike is, of course, the brand leader in the minds of recruits, but Under Armour is thought of more and more to be the better alternative than Adidas in recruiting circles. The thought is -- if you're not Nike, it's better to be Under Armour than Adidas. In basketball, too, Under Armour has established some recruiting events that are getting comparable with Adidas's and they have plans to continue to expand their grassroots divisions -- basketball and football.
Of course, this all could change. As I said, it's not over. There's quite a bit more negotiating to be done with all three apparel companies. But this seems to be how it stands right now.