Column: Logo Logic
Sometimes the uniform a team wears on the field gets more attention than how they actually play on it. UConn has a distinct look, but usually lets their teams, not uniforms, do the talking. I was lucky enough to meet with Kyle Muncy, Assistant Director of Athletics-Licensing, to discuss the UConn athletics' brand.
UConn is a Nike school, signing a 10-year, $45.5 million contract to have the Oregon-based manufacturer supply gear for all of its sports teams. Prior to that, not every team wore the same brand. In the 1990's and early 2000's, the football team wore varying brands, from Reebok to Aeropostale. Adidas also supplied uniforms to some of the teams, including the soccer program. Until the big deal with Nike, there was a lot of variation between brands. There still, however, is variation between sports teams reagrding logos. The major programs here, baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball and football, all have different main logos. Although the Husky is the most identifiable, often times on uniforms and on television, a singular sport logo is used. Muncy said that the department is looking at developing consistency within the brand.
"I think that's something that we are all taking a look at," Muncy said. "There are a lot of different identities across our programs and we're taking a good, hard look at streamlining that."
Muncy said the success of the basketball programs have help to drive merchandise sales, but that it is important to look at the school as a whole.
"We certainly want to make sure that we have marks representative of UConn as one," Muncy continued.
Muncy went on to say that the identity marks pertaining to a singular sport are still good sellers. As for where UConn is headed in terms of its look, Muncy was not at liberty to say.
"I can't really tell you where it's going, it's more of an internal process," Muncy said.
With Nike as a partner, UConn fans can rest easy knowing the school is paired with perhaps the most famous athletic wear company.
"Nike is a cutting edge company," Muncy said. "We're very fortunate to be partnered with Nike... We couldn't have a better partner."
Starting with Oregon over a decade ago, Nike has rebranded schools' looks across the country, with Arizona State and Washington State being the most recent ones.
"We're very aware of those efforts," Muncy said.
UConn, one of the more premier athletic programs in the country, has benefited from its partnership with Nike. New uniforms, such as the lightweight platinum ones worn by the basketball teams this season, are an example of new looks driven by Nike. Muncy said that all the uniforms for next season have already been signed off on. The uniforms for each season are decided a year in advance. So sometimes it's tough to take fan reaction into account when deciding on looks each year.
"It's difficult to take too much immediate feeback into account but certainly we listen," Muncy said.
I think a more consistent look across the board would definitely help UConn's identity. The baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball and football teams all have their own logo. The football block "C" logo is the only one that is really used by other sports teams at this school. And although I am not really a big fan of the football "C" logo, mainly because former coach Randy Edsall was so obsessed with it, the logo seems to be gaining popularity.
Although I am extremely underqualified and have a fan's perspective when it comes to UConn's threads, if I were to put on my Nike hat for a minute, and think of a plan to make a consistent look for the Huskies, I'd start by leaving the baseball script "C" alone. It is traditional and even Arizona State didn't make a drastic change to their baseball uniforms. Although I personally like the interlocking "UC" used by the men's basketball team, I'd scrap it along with the "C" placed against a red basketball team that the women's team uses. I'd modify a "C" logo and make it the secondary logo for all sports.
The one problem I have with the "UC" and "C" logos, however, is that there are too many schools with those letters across the country. A solution would be to make the Husky logo the primary one for all sports, including football. Florida and Texas have mascot logos that work for all their sports and are easily identifiable by anyone in the country. UConn has won a lot of national championships with the current Husky logo. It makes sense for all sports teams to wear it. The current "UConn" font is the best in the country and should be applied to all sports teams as well.
Some fellow students may not prefer the current Husky's cute and cuddly look. I agree that a Husky with it's tongue sticking out may not be the most intimidating logo, but it has worked for UConn. There is nothing better than the opposition getting beaten by a team wearing a panting Husky dog on its uniforms. A more stoic and distinguised Husky, like Washington has, would not suit UConn. A fierce Husky with razor-sharp teeth, like Northeastern has, looks stupid. Here's a newsflash to Northeastern, huskies aren't vicious, rabid man-eating animals. They are scrappy work dogs who, after hours of mushing in the cold, start to sweat and stick their tongue out. Changing the Husky would mean UConn would have to establish a new identity, and unlike Arizona State, our sports teams are good enough that they don't have to. I'd keep the current Husky logo the same and make every team wear it loud and proud.
And I'd let UConn's teams, not logo, do the barking and biting.
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