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UTEP ‘Just Did It,’ they switched to Adidas


As of November 2022, UTEP have been in talks with a third-party athletic supplier, Game One, to replace Nike with Adidas as UTEP’s source for athletic uniforms. Although a contract has not yet been finalized or approved, this includes athletes using Nike footwear, gear and accessories.  

According to KTSM, the supposed five-year deal would begin for the upcoming 2023 seasons and includes every sport. UTEP had initially partnered with Nike in 2004, first outfitting the football program then expanding to include every sport.  

An offer sheet obtained by KTSM stated UTEP would be provided with yearly discounts on athletic equipment. If the university spends a specific amount of money annually with Game One, UTEP would be supplied with additional gear and apparel at no cost.   

In the 2023 fiscal year, monetary assistance was also to be provided to make the transition to Adidas easier. Other incentives would be provided on the basis of athletic performance and increases in funds would be given for conference championships, bowl berths and tournament appearances.  

Considering all the perks of going into this partnership with Game One for Adidas, it is clear to see the main reason UTEP switched from Nike to Adidas, because of the monetary benefits of this partnership. These benefits likely made the new contract more beneficial than being with Nike, if the university did not receive the same or any benefits. However, the question remains; is Adidas up to par for UTEP athletics over Nike? Some may argue Adidas is the better brand, but Nike has been upholding a reputation in athletics that has challenged Adidas for over the past 30 years. Their reputation was set in stone when one of Nike’s biggest collaborations happened with basketball legend Michael Jordan. Converse was one of the leaders in athletic footwear prior to Nike, often being used in sports like basketball and boxing.  

Nike was huge in pop culture as well, being featured in movies like “Back to the Future,” “Terminator” and “Space Jam,” the last of which featured Michael Jordan himself and a pair of Air Jordan 11’s.  

Adidas had a different story when it came to athletics. Adidas was around fifty years before Nike and dipped its feet in athletics soon after its founding. Track and field star Jesse Owens was one of the most notable athletes to have donned Adidas. Reportedly receiving his shoes from Adidas founder Adolf “Adi” Dassler. The shoes would then be worn at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Throughout the ‘50s, Adidas made a name for itself in soccer, as players made the switch in favor of lightweight shoes featuring screw-in cleats. Because of this, Adidas eventually formed a line for sporting goods in 1963, but their popularity began to fall as brands like Nike were on the rise.  

After the company’s decline in athletics, the company gained popularity in the hip-hop community through Run-D.M.C. in the 1980s and most recently through rapper Kanye West. Considering the background behind both brands, Nike was able to remain relevant in sports, while Adidas was forced out and became better known for its role in pop culture. Although Adidas remains a strong competitor in football and soccer with cleats, Nike generally dominates overall in the industry.  

Although the Adidas switch may have been a better choice financially for the university, some of the athletes may not perform to their maximum capabilities, as Nike made a name for themselves in athletics and for good reason.   

Today, Nike still remains in sports, with athletes like LeBron James, Serena Williams and Eliud Kipchoge all donning the shoe giant to perform. Kipchoge may be the greatest testament to the shoe’s capabilities today, as he wore them to run a world-record marathon just last year. The fact that Nike took Adidas out of the limelight in sports should be enough proof Nike is the better athletic brand. Brands have come close to Nike in different sports, but it is safe to say Nike has dominated in every sport. 

Nicholas Maes is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributor
Nicholas Maes
Nicholas Maes, Editor-in-Chief
Nicholas Maes is the editor-in-chief for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in history with a minor in commercial music. He plans to continue his academic career in history after earning his bachelor's degree.
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UTEP ‘Just Did It,’ they switched to Adidas