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When push came to shove, Nike broke out the checkbook to keep Kevin Durant.
The Oklahoma Thunder superstar was set to sign a ten-year sponsorship agreement with Under Armour worth between $265 million and $285 million, but Nike excercised its right to match any outside offer in order to retain Durant.
Terms of the counter-offer are unknown, but the Roc Nation-represented Durant – whose current seven-year contract with Nike paid him a guaranteed $60 million – will reportedly make more from his new sponsorship deal over the next two years than the $41.2 million he’s owed by the Thunder before he becomes a free agent after the 2015-16 season, according to ESPN.
Durant has been a huge money maker for Nike, which generated $175 million in sales this past year on his signature “KD” shoe line, according to SportsOneSource.
Under Armour saw the earning potential from the five-time All Star and current NBA MVP, and included a 10 percent stock option for Durant, who would’ve become the company’s biggest client – dwarfing its $16.5 million per year deal with British Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.
Still, Nike was never really in danger of losing Durant to its much smaller competitor.
“For Nike, this was nothing to them,” Omar Saad, analyst for research firm ISI Group told ESPN.
“They could easily build Durant’s business enough, assuming normal margins, where they could generate a cash flow of $60 million a year. And Nike is really good at monetizing its marketing assets, way better than anyone else.”
The Daily News was the first to report that Durant and Under Armor were on the verge of a deal that could eclipse $300 million.