SBD/April 11, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Cal Unveils New Nike Uniforms To Be Consistent Across All Sports

Nike's customized alpha-numeric font for Cal will be used across all sports
The Univ. of California yesterday “revealed the results of nearly two years of collaboration” with apparel provider Nike in an “attempt to achieve brand consistency across all sports,” according to John Crumpacker of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Along with the introduction of “a new, snarling bear and the color gray as a uniform option for the football team, the biggest takeaways from Cal's ‘visual identity project’ were that it's not costing the athletic department anything and it is not a reaction to Oregon's dizzying multiplicity of uniforms.” Cal LB Nick Forbes modeled a “blue-on-blue uniform featuring the new bear logo on the hip.” He said, "It's a nice, clean look for Cal. It sticks to our tradition. We're not trying to be flashy like some schools in the Pac-12." Cal AD Sandy Barbour said, "Our goal here is to create something that is universally recognized that will create more brand equity. Respecting the past, representing the future is about taking the Cal brand and honoring it." Crumpacker reports the script "Cal" will “remain as the school's symbol, along with the colors dark blue and gold.” Nike created a “customized alpha-numeric font for Cal that will be used on uniforms and performance gear across all sports.” For a school “decades away from paying off the $321 million retrofit of Memorial Stadium, the good news for Cal is that the new uniform design will not cost it anything.” Nike VP & Football Design Dir Todd Van Horne said, "It's part of our existing agreement." Cal football coach Sonny Dykes, who is entering his first season with the school, said, "I'm not a big uniform guy. This will hopefully be my first and last discussion about uniforms. Nike did a great job of designing them. I think they're traditional, which is important. At the same time, you have to have something that appeals to the young crowd. This is a marriage of the two" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/11). The uniforms will be “in place for the 2013-14 season” (AP, 4/10).

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: Barbour said that Cal has “sent a confusing message regarding its brand in recent years, with a variety of logos and visual marks.” Barbour said of branding, “It’s an expectation. It’s memories and relationships that are elicited by the visual representation of Cal athletics.” She said that the football team “first saw its new uniforms on Tuesday night and ‘went bonkers.’” In Oakland, Jeff Faraudo writes Barbour “knows there will be mixed reaction, especially to the new Bear logo.” Barbour: “I like it, I don’t expect everyone to love it” (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 4/11). Cal in its official release noted many older marks, such as drawings of Oski the Bear, will remain available on a wide range of items, but the school's team uniforms and apparel will use the updated identity (Cal).
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