SBD/November 20, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Alternate Uniforms Are All The Rage For College, Pro Teams, Stoking Merchandise Sales

Oregon plans its football uniforms the spring before each season
Sports teams' locker rooms in recent years "have become more like Hollywood wardrobes, crammed with multiple uniform options in a riot of colors and fabrics, most produced in the workshops" of Nike, Under Armour and adidas, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Some teams see "branding opportunities, and colleges have found that flashy, colorful, sleeker uniforms are attractive to recruits." College and professional teams "know that multiple styles can stoke merchandise sales." The Univ. of Oregon "scripts its football outfits the spring before each season to properly coordinate its home and road costuming with the weather, the season, the time of day and even the opponents’ uniforms." adidas earlier this year "listened to" Miami-Ohio AD David Sayler, who "looked at his football team’s uniform and decided something was missing." adidas created uniforms with the word "Miami" written "boldly across the players’ shoulders and on their red helmets, which now bear a shimmering silver-feathered design to evoke the program nickname, the RedHawks." Meanwhile, the Heat have "adopted a long-term plan that will have them play in nine uniforms this season, by far the most" in the NBA. The Heat’s schedule "points to 19 dates on which they will wear special jerseys, a less-than subtle cue to fans to go buy their own replicas." Heat Exec VP & CMO Michael McCullough said, "We established a uniform progression program in 2009, where we laid out for the next few years a series of uniforms we’d introduce to complete the traditional uniforms. We use them to create stories and as a brand-building and retail opportunity." Pro leagues know that "embracing fashion means firing up retail sales; they simply keep the process from spreading anarchically." They oversee programs that "allow teams to wear championship, classic, ethnic and throwback uniforms, some of them just for one game" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/20).

COLOR CHARTING: In Cleveland, Ari Wasserman reported Ohio State Univ. "will wear an all-white version of the alternate uniforms it has worn twice this year for its game at Michigan on Nov. 30" (, 11/18). In Detroit, Angelique Chengelis noted it will be the fourth time in the Michigan-Ohio State game that Ohio State has "gone with an alternate uniform." Michigan "will not" wear an alternate uniform for the game (, 11/19). Meanwhile, the KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL reports the Univ. of Tennessee will "wear the 'Smokey gray' uniforms" for the team's final '13 home game against Vanderbilt on Saturday "to honor the wishes of the seniors" (, 11/20).
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