F is for Fall… or Football
Many people would say that they love the fall season because of the gorgeous trees and the change in the weather to the crisp air. While I do love those aspects of fall, my absolute favorite part is that fall means it’s football season! As a “Eugenian,” I have been raised a diehard University of Oregon Duck fan. Every Saturday I look forward to going to Autzen, tailgating with my friends and family, sitting in the stadium listening to Don Essig tell fans that “it never rains in Autzen Stadium,” watching the Kenny Wheaton hype video before the team runs out on the field and no matter the crazy weather, cheering on my team in one of the best and loudest stadiums for the next 4 quarters – seriously, it never gets old!
As duck fans we have had our fair share of heartbreak throughout the season, but as most of us are aware, The University of Oregon football team has turned into a powerhouse. Fans and viewers from around the nation attend and tune in to their games each week. Obviously, the talented athletes attending the U of O are key to creating a winning football team, but what else has helped create this powerhouse?
Starting in 1996, after a tough loss to Colorado at the Cotton Bowl, Nike made a point to help the University of Oregon attract better students and student athletes. Although it started with just a few new uniforms and renovations here and there, 17 years later, Oregon’s football team is now home to top of the line facilities, creative marketing tactics, including Chip Kelly’s famous “Win the Day,” one of the most beloved college mascots and more importantly the most controversial uniforms in college football! With over 384 combinations of yellow, green, black, grey, neon, chrome, white, carbon and now even pink uniforms, it’s no surprise that the Ducks are a hot topic of conversation.
Constantly, sports fans around the nation turn to social media to discuss the University of Oregon. More recently many well-known celebrities have even shown their support for the University of Oregon teams and apparel. While Oregon does have many haters, the fact that they are constantly being talked about shows just how powerful their brand is. Since the University of Oregon’s brand has become an important social media topic, U of O’s marketing team has taken it upon themselves to maintain its status. Oregon’s marketing director, Craig Pitens, has helped to create the “Quack Cave,” which serves as the watchdog program of social media surrounding the Oregon Ducks. The Quack Cave has also helped to increase the dialogue with students and fans.
Although Oregon’s relationship with Nike has helped to recruit top athletes, it has also put University of Oregon academics on many prospective student’s radars. Students are more aware of Oregon’s beautiful campus and highly rated academics. In 2011, Oregon’s enrollment was up 4.5% from the previous years and this number has continued to grow. With more students and powerhouse sports team, the University of Oregon has many opportunities for students in school and connections post-college – including the University of Oregon Alumni Association, who offers discounts through SheerID!
Overall, whether you like the University of Oregon or not, I think we can all agree that Nike’s efforts to bring in better athletes and students have been successful and forever changed the ways of college football. Many schools around the nation are now trying to compete with Oregon’s efforts as a national brand through innovative new ideas and additions to their marketing efforts. As the battle for the best uniforms and facilities continues, keep an eye out for how it will affect the marketing side of college football in the future.