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Stylish unis as a competitive advantage


Viper

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This piece appeared on Grantland today and its topic is right down our alley, so I'm surprised no one here's jumped all over it yet.

How Does Oregon Football Keep Winning?

Is it the uniforms?

Oregon clearly is the beneficiary of its unique relationship with Nike boss Phil Knight, a 1959 alum who has used his fortune to give the Ducks every potential material advantage. But the most consistently conspicuous portion of Knight's lavish contributions are the team's much-discussed uniforms ? the yellows and the greens, the blacks and the grays, the highlighter neons and the stormtrooper whites, the many different helmets and jerseys and pants and socks and shoes, the more than 500 possible combinations in all.

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Oregon looks like crap when they wear to much black, carbon, two other shades of grey, and highlighter yellow. They should stick to their school colours, and shame on Mr. Knight for turning the program into Team Nike.

There. Piece said.

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Ice_Cap, I'm curious. Hypothetically, if Oregon's colors included carbon, black, neon, etc., would you find their look, in your opinion, good?

Yes, actually. It's a bold colour scheme that works for a team that claims to look forward, not backward.

The problem, of course, is that theses colours are not the University of Oregon's colours. Those are green and athletic gold. Black, carbon, and volt are Nike colours, not Oregon colours. Nike's insistence on dressing the Ducks in Nike colours as opposed to Ducks colours is part of a disheartening trend; that of manufacturers creating uniforms to promote themselves rather then the teams the uniforms are supposed to be for.

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Ice_Cap, I'm curious. Hypothetically, if Oregon's colors included carbon, black, neon, etc., would you find their look, in your opinion, good?

Yes, actually. It's a bold colour scheme that works for s team that claims to look forward, not backward.

The problem, of course, is that theses colours are not the University of Oregon's colours. Those are green and athletic gold. Black, carbon, and volt are Nike colours, not Oregon colours. Nike's insistence on dressing the Ducks in Nike colours as opposed to Ducks colours is part of a disheartening trend; that of manufacturers creating uniforms to promote themselves rather then the teams the uniforms are supposed to be for.

I totally agree...SOME of what Oregon has done (not all...some is awful) looks fairly sharp. But uniforms are supposed to represent more than "sharp" and "badass" and certainly other than "manufacturer". They are supposed to represent the school. Oregon could have trendy or envelope-pushing uniforms within their school colors. And yeah, uniforms being used to promote the manufacturers rather than the teams is quite disappointing.

As for the issue brought up in this thread...While I have a hard time believing that uniforms are a huge difference-maker, who knows. It's not that a kid says "check out those uniforms. I don't care about the coaches, the history, the campus, the academics, or the location; I gotta wear THOSE." But maybe in a subliminal-type way, it puts the school in the minds of a few extra kids, a couple of which choose Oregon (and one, every so often, that is a stud).

On one hand, this is a board full of uni-nerds and I bet very few of us would, if we had scholarship options, would take uniforms into consideration. On the other hand, I bet you could find a school or two that added NOBs because they thought it would attract a few extras.

The difference? probably minor at most. And for every 3 kids that are drawn to the uniforms, there are probably 2 that are turned off and imagine themselves wearing something more traditional.

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Look at this picture:

Darron+Thomas+Tostitos+BCS+National+Championship+A9qSPwtXOVhl.jpg

Do you know which team that is?

I'd say just about everyone would know that's Oregon. If you don't chances are you don't follow college sports.

Like I've said before who do you think Oregon wants to impress, the public or a few people on the internet? Did you hear of any players mad about the uniforms? did you hear any fans complaining? I'm sure there were a couple, but you have to honestly admit that the majority or Oregon's fanbase and players loved the uniforms. If not why would they bring them back?

Don't try the whole "players and fans know nothing" argument, because it makes you seem like pompous know-it-alls, which is not the case at all.

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Look at this picture:

http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Darron+Thomas+Tostitos+BCS+National+Championship+A9qSPwtXOVhl.jpg

Do you know which team that is?

I'd say just about everyone would know that's Oregon. If you don't chances are you don't follow college sports.

Like I've said before who do you think Oregon wants to impress, the public or a few people on the internet? Did you hear of any players mad about the uniforms? did you hear any fans complaining? I'm sure there were a couple, but you have to honestly admit that the majority or Oregon's fanbase and players loved the uniforms. If not why would they bring them back?

Don't try the whole "players and fans know nothing" argument, because it makes you seem like pompous know-it-alls, which is not the case at all.

He says quite pompously in a know-it-all fashion. Glass houses, stones, that thing.

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I say that they are. If the players like what they are wearing and feel good they'll play better. But in all reality, it's not what they are wearing but the players in the uniforms. If the players have no talent or can't understand a playbook, it doesn't matter how "good" they look.

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^ That. Speaking as a former athlete, I can attest that if one feels that he/she looks good on the field, one feels better. Its an "attitude" thing. Here's the problem...I sucked at baseball, still suck at softball, so as oddball said, it really is the player. No amount of on-field spiff will help overcome lack of skill.

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A little bit of a different situation, but when I was applying to colleges I applied (and was accepted) to Boise State, despite living in Michigan. Why? Blue turf. I'm not even a football player, but just the thought of watching the games on that blue turf was enough to attract me to the school.

Like it says about LeGarret Blount in the article, he loved the uniforms, learned more about the school, and eventually went there. If Oregon is constantly in a player's mind because of marketing and flash, they're more likely to consider it. That's how you can attract star caliber players.

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I'll say this: look at how much coverage Maryland's rebrand has generated in the national media. Multiple mentions on Around The Horn, SportsCenter, etc. They mentioned MD's funky color-coded seat section strategy on PTI. Now, many of those mentions were "negative" - with sportscasters/pundits pontificating on how wild the unis are, etc. But would Maryland football - a second tier program at a basketball school in a basketball conference - have received *any* press at all during this time of year if UA hadn't gone full-Oregon on their rebrand?

For that reason alone, I can understand why an attention-starved program would opt for this strategy. And frankly, Oregon *continues* to benefit from the me-too trend, because Oregon's name invariably comes up whenever the next school signs up for a radical overhaul.

http://www.businessinsider.com/new-college-football-uniforms-2011-8

The University of Maryland grabbed headlines yesterday when it unveiled its new Under Armour football uniforms in a boistrous fashion show.

The unveiling came after high-profile programs from Georgia to Hawaii rolled out shiny new duds for the upcoming 2011 season.

Other programs, including Arizona State, Oklahoma State, and Washington State, gave Nike free reign to rebrand their programs — with Oregon-esque new uniforms as the centerpiece.

Of course this works.

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Look at this picture:

Darron+Thomas+Tostitos+BCS+National+Championship+A9qSPwtXOVhl.jpg

Do you know which team that is?

I'd say just about everyone would know that's Oregon. If you don't chances are you don't follow college sports.

This. Oregon may not be following school tradition, but they clearly have a stronger brand identity now then they did before. Adherence to school colors naturally help to reinforce a program's brand identity, but, as Oregon/Nike demonstrate, it's not the only way.

Now, if a team opts for a package that deviates from school colors without replacing it with some other iconic imagery - well, that's bad for business. A team wouldn't adopt non-traditional school colors using a Penn State template.

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As long as the fans, players, and media eat up the uniforms, then it's a good thing. I rarely come across an Oregon fan that dislikes their uni's. It's usually the rest of us that bash them. I love what Oregon, ASU, and Maryland are doing. I've loved every Buckeye combat uni too. They're different....nice change from the norm. It can't hurt to at least try.

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I hate the Oregon football uniforms outfits.

But, I'm not the person Oregon is trying to appeal to with those outfits. And neither are you. If you're not a 17- or 18-year-old kid who is stupid good at football, I don't think Oregeon and Nike could care less about your opinion. As both Nike and Oregon have said, these outfits are not meant to appeal to fans or media. They're meant to appeal to teenagers. When you don't have any bankable tradition to sell kids on, you sell something brand new.

For those of us who like to watch good football AND good design, it's an unfortunate reality. But, it's reality nonetheless.

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I hate the Oregon football uniforms outfits.

But, I'm not the person Oregon is trying to appeal to with those outfits. And neither are you. If you're not a 17- or 18-year-old kid who is stupid good at football, I don't think Oregeon and Nike could care less about your opinion. As both Nike and Oregon have said, these outfits are not meant to appeal to fans or media. They're meant to appeal to teenagers. When you don't have any bankable tradition to sell kids on, you sell something brand new.

For those of us who like to watch good football AND good design, it's an unfortunate reality. But, it's reality nonetheless.

You are entitled to your opinion. However, I'd like to see you provide some documented evidence that Nike and Oregon (or any other college) is strictly going after 17-18 year olds. Your post sounds more like your emotional hatred for these uni's versus fact.

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I have a hard time knocking Oregon for always pushing the envelope and doing wacky new things to their uniforms.

Contrast is a good thing. It would be bland if every team had block numbers and old school uniforms.

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This piece appeared on Grantland today and its topic is right down our alley, so I'm surprised no one here's jumped all over it yet.

How Does Oregon Football Keep Winning?

Is it the uniforms?

Oregon clearly is the beneficiary of its unique relationship with Nike boss Phil Knight, a 1959 alum who has used his fortune to give the Ducks every potential material advantage. But the most consistently conspicuous portion of Knight's lavish contributions are the team's much-discussed uniforms ? the yellows and the greens, the blacks and the grays, the highlighter neons and the stormtrooper whites, the many different helmets and jerseys and pants and socks and shoes, the more than 500 possible combinations in all.

This is exactly what I have been saying for a long time now. Excellent article and find.

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