If you haven't heard by now between the obnoxious Michigan fanboys and the obnoxious Nike fanboys (or, God forbid, the obnoxious Nike/Michigan fanboys,) the University of Michigan has signed a uniform provider deal with Nike again after a brief flirtation with Adidas. It is seen as a major victory for the company out of Oregon, as they are actively trying to keep hold on the number one spot for athletic uniforms and branding. Under Armour is projected to quickly overtake Adidas as number two in the United States (if it hasn't already,) and this certainly deals a major blow to Adidas, as many schools are switching over to UA or Nike.
So, what does this mean for the MAC?
Branding is very important for universities in the recruitment process, whether anyone wants to admit it or not. I only need to point to Oregon pre-2004 vs. Oregon now. When Nike took them under their wing, it established a new precedent for recruiting. Nike easily runs the game, with the vast majority of the Power 5 teams wearing Nike. A lot of Group 5 teams wear Under Armour and Adidas. If you're curious to see the correlation, here is a wicked awesome search engine that shows how much money your school is making from their uniform provider as of 2014.
Perhaps some of the MAC schools sense the trend of the market and have adjusted accordingly; Kent State recently voted to switch from Nike to Under Armour, while Bowling Green will be making the switch from Adidas to Nike this upcoming season.
Akron, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Massachusetts, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan are all Adidas schools, with Ball State, Bowling Green and Buffalo under the Nike tent and Toledo and Kent State as Under Armour schools, Ohio's uniforms are provided by Russel.
Looks matter, and football and basketball fans certainly take pride in their school's aesthetic. Sonetimes, the companies fit the image, and other times, they don't. So the question is, does your school have the right #BRAND and look to represent them? And if so (and if not,) why?
The beauty about things like this, is that they're totally subjective. And also available to the highest bidder.