Study: Changing apparel partners doesn't seem to help recruiting. Or winning. Or...stock prices?
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For most D-I institutions, there are generally three commercial relationships that are the most lucrative and important. You have your broadcast media partner, your multimedia rights (MMR) partner, and your apparel partner. Generally, these three contracts are contributing the most revenue, the most exposure, and the most internal political attention.
It's usually a pretty big deal with a school changes apparel partners. Apparel partner changes usually mean some sort of tweak to the uniform designs, but it also means more discounts on product inventory, more money for the school, and more attention.
Sometimes, schools, and even observers, believe changing apparel partners could impact recruiting. After all, apparel companies often wield significant influence in the AAU and club sport circuits, and are growing in influence in the 7x7 and prep football world.
Take this story, from 2015, when Michigan became one of the first Jumpman programs. From the Detroit Free Press:
Or here is the L.A. Times, right after UCLA signed a massive contract with Under Amour, back in 2016:
Michigan certainly got a lot of money in their Jumpman contract. UCLA made a ton from UA, too...until UA pulled out of the deal.
Does this stuff actually matter in recruiting? Can a school become so "cool" as a result of their new apparel contract that they win more games? Shoot...does this even help the shoe companies?
A new study out of UNC suggests that the answer is...probably not.
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