A pair of remaining March Madness title contenders will cash in from their runs in their respective NCAA tournaments—the question that remains is how much they’ll make. Both Kansas, which will appear in Monday night’s men’s finale, and UConn have performance bonuses in their apparel contracts that reward making it to their tournament’s final weekend.
The Jayhawks have already secured a $250,000 bonus with their Final Four appearance, according to a copy of their agreement with Adidas, and stand to make as much as $1 million more when all is said and done. A runner-up finish Monday night against North Carolina would earn them an additional $500,000, and a national championship would push that payout to seven figures.
Had Kansas’ women’s team also made a championship run, its title game appearance and win payouts would have been the same as on the men’s side, though no bonus was built in for a women’s Final Four appearance. The same cannot be said for the two teams actually remaining in the women’s tournament.
UConn, set to play fellow powerhouse South Carolina for the women’s title on Sunday night, earned a $10,000 payout for playing in the Final Four, according to its Nike contract. That’s $15,000 less than the men’s team would’ve taken home for reaching the same semi-final round.
A men’s basketball national championship would’ve been worth another $25,000 for the Huskies, while the women’s team will earn $15,000 if they take home the hardware. UConn isn’t alone: Louisville, which did not advance to the title clash after falling to South Carolina on Friday, earned less bonus money for its Final Four appearance than its men’s team would’ve, according to its Adidas contract.
Many athletic departments’ apparel contracts, obtained by Sportico through public records requests, contain such bonuses, but the practice is not universal, even within a single apparel provider. For example, the contract between UNC and Nike doesn’t outline any post-season performance rewards like UConn’s deal with the shoe giant does—although technically UNC is a Jordan Brand school.
Top-seeded South Carolina’s agreement with Under Armour also doesn’t appear to have any such bonus structure built in. The Gamecocks coach, however, could pick up a bit of spending money. Dawn Staley’s seven-year, $22.4 million deal, signed before the start of this season, includes a $500,000 bonus for bringing another national title back to Columbia. UConn’s Geno Auriemma, Kansas’ Bill Self and Carolina coach Hubert Davis all also have substantial bonuses built in for post-season performance.
The apparel money on the line in the matchups:
- No. 2 UConn ($10,000 secured + $15,000 if they win the NCAA championship) vs. No. 1 South Carolina ($0)
- No. 1 Kansas ($250,000 secured + $500,000 if they lose the championship or $1 million if they win) vs. No. 8 North Carolina ($0)
Sportico will be publishing short business highlights throughout the three-week NCAA tournament.
March 16: The Jordan Jumpman’s Giant NCAA Leap
March 18: Upsets Abound Beyond Saint Peter’s
March 19: Money Talks in the Women’s Tournament
March 26: The NCAA’s Billion-Dollar Cash Cow