1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The (Re)Branding of CU

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
    Likes Received:
    By Stuart

    [h=3]The (Re)Branding of Colorado Athletics[/h]—
    The last time the University of Colorado was ranked nationally in football, the current high school juniors who will comprise the Recruiting Class of 2016 next February were in kindergarten.
    The last time the Buffs won a conference championship, these recruits were in diapers.
    CU’s*new “Champions Center”, opening this fall,*will house the “Ring Room”, which will display all of CU’s hardware, including a national championship trophy and a Heisman (only one of 24 schools in the nation which has both). The Champions Center will also house*an “NFL Room”, which will highlight all of CU’s NFL stars.
    But the trophies are getting dated – 25 years for the national title; 21 for the Heisman – and the NFL room will contain the names of only nine former Buffs who finished the 2014 season on NFL rosters. The number of Buffs in the NFL continues to decline (22 in 2009; 18 in 2010; 15 at the end of 2011; 14 at the end of 2012; 12 at end of the 2013 season), a far cry from the glory days of the mid-1990’s, when CU was in the top four nationally in players in the NFL, and had the entire starting offensive lineup from the 1994 team play in the NFL (with ten draftees and one free agent).
    So, how does Colorado market itself to the recruits from the Class of 2016, who know little if anything about CU’s past, but know plenty about its present?
    Well, the $156 million “Champions Center” is clearly the place to start. For a program with one conference win in the last two years of Pac-12 play, it was*well past time for Colorado to enter this particular arms race.
    “We spent a lot of money to build something this great, but we were the last one to build one,” MacIntyre said at the topping off ceremony on March 31st. “So we went around and stole all the good ideas and put it in there”.
    Sounds nice … but was I the only one who winced at the “last one to build” part of the equation?
    The University of Colorado: Last in the Pac-12 on the field, last to build facilities; … last in the minds of recruits?
    So the latest gambit to lure recruits will come in a few weeks, when CU’s new uniforms will be unveiled. The uniforms were not introduced at the CU Spring Game, when the Buffs were receiving at least a modicum of publicity (though the first half was preempted for most of the Pac-12 Networks viewing audience for a telecast of a women’s softball game … imagine that happening to USC).
    Nor were the new uniforms*introduced at the “topping off” ceremony, with some media and some big time donors in attendance.
    And they won’t make their debut at CU’s first home game against the University of Massachusetts, a game which – I’m guessing here – will not be a sellout.
    Instead, the new uniforms will be introduced on the first day of May … at a garage sale.
    With little going on in the world of collegiate athletics aside from worrying about the upcoming Finals Week – and whether any players will be lost to academic ineligibility – the University of Colorado will introduce its new uniforms. The unveiling will come on a day in which CU will conduct a garage sale of surplus equipment, as well as a Field Day for CU students down on Folsom Field.
    The word is that CU will break out a silver/gray uniform to go with its existing black and white uniforms, with helmets of white and silver to go with the gold and black*helmets already in use.
    We’ll have to see what the new uniforms look like before passing judgment (if anyone wants my opinion, a gold chrome helmet would be very cool,*though I have a hard time picturing CU in gray), but the need for such a move is – again – past due.
    Nike University, a/k/a the University of Oregon, has been experimenting with new uniforms on almost a weekly basis for years. While some of the uniform choices have been ghastly, there is no questioning their appeal to recruits. And it is the recruits, not the alumni, which matter here.
    We fans will buy up whatever color scheme our new hats and polo shirts come in, as we are, in the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, “a sure thing”. We’re not going anywhere, so CU has to do what it takes to be competitive in the battle for recruits.
    If new uniform schemes will help, then I’m all in.
    Which brings me to marketing in the Denver/Boulder metro area.
    For long time readers of CU at the Game, you know that it is my highly ingrained opinion that CU cannot buy a break from the Denver media. The coverage of Colorado over the years has been slanted, biased, and, at times, downright slanderous.
    There is nothing Colorado can do about the coverage of the Denver Broncos. Denver is a Broncos town, and that is not going to change (just ask the Rockies, Avalanche, and Nuggets).
    But that does not mean CU is without options in trying to obtain better media coverage and fan interest.
    At the Arizona Spring game this weekend, the Wildcats had a fun night planned for its fans, including the continuation by head coach Rich Rodriguez*of allowing*fans in the stands to call plays. “I think the players will enjoy it,” Rodriguez said before the Friday night contest. “It kinda reminds them of high school a little bit. I think it will be nice for our fans. Obviously the weather is going to be great again. I’m looking forward to it. I may even venture into the stands late just so I can have people call bad plays.”
    Even the team from up north has bettered the Buffs when it comes to springtime options.
    On Saturday, Colorado State ran a 109-play scrimmage at the Denver Broncos facilities in Englewood. Not only was the matter well covered by the media (check out stories here and here), but it gave CSU another tool in recruiting local talent (“Come play with us, and hang out with the Broncos, unlike that other school”). Plus, the scrimmage gave Denver fans a short commute to watch the team play. Compare the 109-play CSU*scrimmage, open to the public, with CU’s 54-play “Spring Game”, the only real chance for Buff fans to watch their team in action this spring.
    Another dilemma facing CU when it comes to marketing itself is that it does not have a loyal fan base upon which to draw. Colorado is second only to Oregon amongst Pac-12 schools in the number of out-of-state students. Over a third (37%) of Colorado’s student population – i.e., its future alumni and fan base – grew up knowing (and cheering for) schools in other states.
    Out-of-state students for the Pac-12’s public universities*(From collegexpress.com, found by SD Buff):
    Oregon – 39%
    CU – 37%
    Arizona – 29%
    Arizona State – 23%
    Oregon State – 21%
    Utah – 17%
    Washington – 13%
    Cal – 11%
    UCLA – 7%
    Washington State – 7%
    … and … CSU – 19%

    So, CU is trying to recruit prospects who have grown up never seeing Colorado as a winning football program, to a school which has gone 4-32 in Pac-12 play since joining the conference, with facilities which are the last in the conference to be built. CU is trying to build its brand in the state by conducting a Spring Game before most other teams even started practice, holding all of its practices in secret, then conducting one-half’s worth of a Spring Game.
    And now we learn that the Buffs will unveil their new uniforms before an indifferent local population, on the 1st of May, a time of year*when there is little interest in collegiate athletics, and doing so at a garage sale.
    Nothing against the as yet unseen uniforms, but I’m guessing the news will not be the lead on ESPN’s SportsCenter that night.
    The (re)branding of CU is finally heading in the right direction. Steps are being taken to right the ship, and Rick George and his staff, in raising over $73 million in a very short time, have already accomplished a great deal.
    But there is still so much more to do.
    And when the big things are a long ways off, the little things are all the more important.

    Originally posted by CU At the Game
    Click here to vie

Share This Page