A partnership with a brand agency allows the creation of a new range of GU | Sports

When the NCAA announced its updated Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policy in the summer of 2021, varsity athletics across the country were thrown into uncharted territory. After the announcement, some student-athletes began to claim products related to their school’s brand.

Step into The Brandr Group (TBG), a brand management, marketing and licensing agency partnering with universities to provide student-athletes with opportunities and resources. As part of the partnership with GU, they specialize in co-branding – using the player’s name next to the GU logo – and student-athlete licensing, sponsorship and media.

GU announced its partnership of a group licensing agreement for all student-athletes with TBG on November 12. The current agreement with TBG is for three years, but will be reassessed as policies change and evolve.

“What the Brandr Group has done is bring the ability to co-brand, so it provides the ability for the goods to be specifically in the market,” said Sam MacDonald, Director of Trademarks and Licensing at GU .

According to MacDonald, the student-athletes had expressed an interest in exploring merchandise opportunities, and GU wanted to ensure that all student-athletes had this opportunity. When seeking partnerships, TBG stood out because it allows GU to market merchandise for the entire student-athlete population.

“It was really important for us to include all of our student-athletes in this opportunity, and I think we were unique in that,” said Chris Johnson, senior associate athletic director. “We understand that it all depends on the market, but we thought it was important for us to create an avenue that can showcase all of our student-athletes. ”

According to MacDonald, TBG works on behalf of the university and the student-athlete, focusing primarily on the student-athlete and what they can do to help them.

TBG oversees everything related to the use of GU’s intellectual property, which is anything that would be a registered trademark by the university (logos, fonts, mascot, etc.), in conjunction with an athlete. TBG is also available to agencies with student-athletes if they express an interest in pursuing NIL opportunities, but this depends on the individual and is done separately from the university.

“The biggest benefit of the Brandr partnership is just on the licensing side, to have someone who is there – they have partnerships with a lot of professional player associations,” Johnson said. “They helped us put together shirseys – shirt jerseys – and that’s partly because of the partnerships they have in the industry and across the country to make it happen.”

Along with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), TBG works with the vendors in conjunction with the athlete on the production of merchandise. The main role of the university is the approval of works of art.

According to MacDonald, TBG was the group that enabled GU to set key dates and deadlines. In order to have shirseys ready for the end of February, steps had to be taken in early November. TBG assists every step of the way, keeping it running so that the final product is ready when scheduled.

The current official Gonzaga Bulldogs merchandise available at breakt.com shows the final shirsey product, as well as other t-shirt designs made with TBG. At this time, only the men’s basketball team jerseys are available, as well as a template for former GU women’s basketball team, Courtney Vandersloot.

“The best part of this partnership is showing that we support our student-athletes and NIL,” said MacDonald. “We are able to support them because we allow them to use their NIL in conjunction with the university’s intellectual property, and that’s what people want. ”

Sydney Fluker is an A&E editor. Follow them on Twitter: @sydneymfluker.

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