SBD/October 21, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

LSU's Nike Pro Combat Uniforms Harken Back To The Late '50s For Inspiration

LSU will wear Nike Pro Combat uniforms Saturday for the first time since '09
LSU will "roll out its Nike Pro Combat uniforms for the first and only time this season" for its game Saturday against Auburn, according to Scott Rabalais of the Baton Rouge ADVOCATE. LSU Equipment Manager Greg Stringfellow said that Nike’s designers "tried to incorporate a classic look from LSU’s Chinese Bandits days of the late 1950s with a color scheme that evoked impressions of a white tiger." The result is a uniform "that is almost completely white from head to toe." The helmet is "white with a faint tiger-stripe pattern blended in and purple and gold stripes down the middle." Purple and gold stripes are also "on the shoulders, though in both cases the gold is a deeper color than the yellowish-gold LSU usually wears." A tiger-stripe pattern "is also worked into the purple numbers." Stringfellow said of Nike, "They do a lot of research, and it basically was one of the options we had in mind." Rabalais notes Saturday will be the second time LSU has played in Nike Pro Combat gear -- the first was against Arkansas in '09. While LSU "pays for most of its traditional football gear from Nike," Stringfellow said that the company is "supplying all of the equipment and clothing free for this game, from helmets down to socks and even T-shirts" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 10/21). In New Orleans, Luke Johnson notes the "most unique parts of the uniform are its accessories." Players will wear gloves that "make the 'Eye of the Tiger' logo when players put their hands together, and specially designed purple-and-gold cleats." LSU WR Russell Shepard said, "We look at it as an accomplishment. We worked our butt off to get notoriety from Nike, and the top teams wear these styles of uniforms" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 10/21).

ONE AND DONE: Univ. of Michigan AD Dave Brandon said that the plan "to create a new road jersey" that would be worn only for last week's game against Michigan State "launched soon after the Spartans unveiled their special uniforms on Sept. 13." Brandon said that he called adidas, "discussed Nike's plan for MSU, and the apparel company got to work immediately to produce the Michigan road jersey." He "wanted the jerseys to be close to what the Wolverines wore" against Notre Dame earlier in the season during the first night game at Michigan Stadium. Brandon said, "It's not a marketing and merchandise strategy. It was to fire up the team as far as our own competitive edge." He added that Michigan "does not plan to become Oregon, wearing a number of different uniform combinations during the season." Brandon: "As far as I was concerned, this was a one-off thing. If our merchandising partners think there's a market and adidas wants to market the jerseys … that wasn't really the strategy" (DETROIT NEWS, 10/21).
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