Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2017 - 58
Sports & Tailgating
In choosing licensees, MSU looked at manufacturers'
unique attributes and how committed they were to
growing with the university's brand.
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
Michigan State pared down its licensees in favor of stronger partnerships with companies
committed to its brand. BY TIM O'CONNOR
director of licensing
East Lansing, Mich.
fter 30 years of building one of the leading collegiate licensing programs in
the nation, Michigan State University
(MSU) decided to take a good look at
its program and realized it was working with too
many apparel makers. The university had 150 licensees with T-shirt rights alone. With so many hands
on the Spartan logo, it was difficult to ensure every
piece of clothing embellished with the MSU brand
met the university's quality standards.
Over the past year, MSU has taken a new approach to apparel licensing by identifying manufacturers with strong marketing and business plans
and solid retail relationships that were willing to go
above and beyond for the university. "We analyzed
our program from every angle and worked to hone
down our licensee base to those best-in-class companies that we felt were invested in MSU for the
next three years," Stevens says.
In choosing its key licensees, MSU looked at
what made each licensee different from others and
what kind of commitment they were willing to give
to developing and promoting new products as well
as growing the Michigan State brand. "We want to
see more of an investment in our brand overall so
we know they're serious about the license to use our
marks," Stevens explains.
By refining its number of licensees and empha-