Branding on Ole Miss helmet breaks new ground

Despite a mostly lopsided Presidents Cup here in Charlotte, the event delivered its share of thrilling shot-making and just enough stars to create the illusion of a rivalry. I’d watch Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas play anybody, anywhere.

Ole Miss unveiled a new helmet design today that features a camo design by Realtree and the brand name in small letters on the helmet. That prompted some conversation about whether this is the first time a brand has appeared on the helmet, separate from the manufacturer.

Dyehard Fan Supply handles retail operations for the Rebels, who are selling a variety of apparel items with the camo design. The first batch of camo apparel sold out online in 12 hours. Another order is being reserved for game day when Ole Miss plays Kentucky.

Brands appear on equipment regularly in college sports. Manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armor pay for prime space on the jersey. Bowl games and their sponsors put their patch on jerseys. Could the Realtree deal lead to a greater presence on the uniform for sponsors? Not likely, said a retail expert I spoke with today.

An NCAA bylaw allows a college athlete to wear the marks of an equipment or apparel company pregame, postgame and during the game.

Ole Miss AD Keith Carter wrote in an email: “We examined NCAA equipment rules related to competition to ensure we were compliant. This included no logos on the actual equipment worn on gameday as opposed to what was shared in our marketing assets.”

Realtree’s appearance on the Ole Miss helmets is a rarity for brands in college football

I profiled Duke AD Nina King for this week’s edition of SBJ and it’s clear just how much affection she had for her former boss, Kevin White, and the entire White family. But when King was named the Blue Devils’ AD last year, she knew that it’d be important for her to establish her own leadership style.

“Of course, I’ve learned so much from Kevin, but I also have a different leadership style than he has,” King said, “and it’s important to be authentically myself in this job and not mimic him — all the way down to how the office looks.”

King moved into White’s old office and she did keep the treadmill that White used to do some of his best thinking. King, however changed the paint color on the walls, she swapped out the carpet and office furniture, and she added a locker room of sorts to give her a place to change when she has functions across campus.

When asked how her leadership style is different, King said, “Kevin was able to delegate more and because of that, he had a very clean desk. An issue would hit his desk and it would go to someone else pretty quickly. I don’t have that luxury because I’m a first-time AD. I need to prove myself.”

The Florida-Tennessee rivalry had its best audience in 13 years on Saturday, with CBS drawing 5.6 million viewers at the 3:30pm ET window, notes SBJ’s Austin Karp. The game peaked at 6.7 million viewers. Florida-Tennessee is also now the No. 5 game this season to date.

Despite a blowout, Wisconsin-Ohio State was No. 2 for the weekend with 4.6 million viewers. The state of Ohio was dialed into the game, as four markets in the state ranked in the top five. Columbus led all markets with a 29.1 local rating, followed by Dayton (No. 2), Cleveland-Akron (No. 3) and Cincinnati (No. 7). Milwaukee was No. 4.

Fox’s Maryland-Michigan matchup was No. 3 in the noon window, averaging 4.4 million viewers. The game also cracked the top 10 for the season to date now (at No. 10).

Most-watched college football games for 2022 season (through Week 4)
Alabama-Texas 9/10 Fox 12:06-3:43pm 10,595
Notre Dame-Ohio State 9/3 ABC 7:37-11:00pm 10,531
Florida State-LSU 9/4 ABC 7:30-11:25pm 7,554
Oregon-Georgia 9/3 ABC 3:30-7:00pm 6,199
Florida-Tennessee 9/24 CBS 3:30-7:00pm 5,571
Clemson-Georgia Tech 9/5 ESPN 7:57-11:32pm 4,859
Wisconsin-Ohio State 9/24 ABC 7:42-11:00pm 4,587
Tennessee-Pitt 9/10 ABC 3:40-7:00pm 4,457
Nebraska-Northwestern (Ireland) 8/27 Fox 12:36-3:30pm 4,419
Maryland-Michigan 9/24 Fox 12:12-4:06pm 4,378

Gary Stokan has always taken great pride in the amount of money the Peach Bowl, Inc., donates to the Atlanta community and for good reason. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl has given away $60 million in charitable donations since 2002.

Stokan, the Peach Bowl’s longtime CEO and president, said revenues were back to pre-pandemic levels after the 2021-22 college football season. This year’s donation was $5.8 million, making it the largest donation by a bowl game in the country.

This marks the fifth straight year the Peach Bowl has donated more than $5 million and the 16th straight year of eclipsing $1 million in giving. Those contributions primarily go to the Peach Bowl Legacy Fund benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and other charities.

Stokan: “We were founded to give back.” The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl’s raises revenue as a bowl in the CFP rotation as well as other events throughout the year.

  • Digital Seat Media has added more than 61,000 metal seat tags at Missouri’s football stadium, all of which are adorned with inclusive QR codes intended to elevate fan engagement, reports SportTechie’s Tom Friend. Mizzou’s deal with Digital Seat Media was secured through Learfield.
  • The Big 12 reorganized its Dallas-based conference office to include “a new business vertical, modernization of titles, and depth in staffing and promotions,” Commissioner Brett Yormark said. The reorg will contain 12 new positions and a 13th open position has been created by the departure of Kelvin Smith, the conference’s general counsel and a 2022 SBJ Forty Under 40 honoree.
  • WWE’s Bianca Belair hoisted a custom Tennessee-branded championship belt during her appearance Saturday on ESPN’s “College GameDay.” Now, fans of SEC schools can get a belt of their own. WWE has secured licenses to produce custom side plates featuring the logos of all 14 SEC teams that can be outfitted on replica WWE championship title belts.
  • ESPN’s Pete Thamel Threw out some names for the now-open AD role at Georgia Tech following Todd Stansbury’s dismissal, including Florida’s Lynda Tealer, FAU’s Brian White, Tulane’s Troy Dannen, Oklahoma’s Zac Selmon, New Mexico’s Eddie Nunez, Army’s Mike Buddie, former Auburn AD Allen Greene, Air John’s Nate Pine, Utah State,’s North Texas’ Wren Baker, Fresno State’s Terry Tumey, Appalachian State’s Doug Gillin, Louisiana’s Bryan Maggard, Southern Miss’ Jeremy McClain and San Diego State’s JD Wicker.

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