- Darren Rovell, ESPN.com Sports Business reporter
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Nike signed one of the longest and most valuable sponsorship contracts in sports history on Wednesday, agreeing to extend its sponsorship of the USA Track & Field team for an additional 23 years. The deal makes Nike the exclusive apparel sponsor of the team at the World Championships and Olympics through 2040.
Terms were not disclosed, but sources told ESPN.com that the new deal is worth between $450 million and $500 million in cash and goods, dwarfing the deal signed in 2009 and running through 2017 that was worth roughly $10 million a year in cash and goods.
"This new deal is a game-changer for the sport and what USATF will be able to offer all our constituents," USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel said in a statement. "Nike's support for USA Track & Field and the sport as a whole is unmatched, and we look forward to this new era of collaboration."
"Nike was founded as a running company, and our passion for track and field is at the core of our DNA," Nike president and CEO Mark Parker said in a statement.
The running business, worth $4.2 billion for Nike in 2013, is among the fastest-growing segments for the brand. Nike expects to do $27 billion in total sales in 2014.
Nike, which has been a sponsor of USA Track & Field since 1991, provides the bulk of the funds for the USATF budget, and some athletes have become concerned that those who don't wear Nike are at a disadvantage in terms of the voice they have at the table. In recent weeks, Nike publicly said it had no problem with the Track & Field Athletes Association, a group formed to give track and field athletes a more independent voice.
The deal provides that athletes wear Nike apparel when competing at the World Championships, Olympics and other Team USA events, though they are free to strike shoe deals on their own.
Nike athletes on the team include Olympic gold-medalist sprinters Sanya Richards-Ross, Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter, 10,000-meter silver medalist Galen Rupp and Ashton Eaton, who won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 2012 London Games.
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