Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2017 - 59
Michigan State University
sizing the partnership aspects, the university has ensured
the best MSU products are reaching the right retailers to
meet the needs of its consumers. "Now we are more focused
on delivering better quality product for our MSU fans and
making sure it's not just a race to the bottom where our
vendors are undercutting each other," Stevens says.
For college students, alumni and athletics fans, owning a
piece of MSU gear is a connection to the school they love;
a reminder of the friendships they formed, the campus
where they lived or the team they support. It's a declaration of the shared experiences that bond the MSU community together.
The sale of each piece of MSU gear ends up supporting
the school they love. After program operating expenses, every dollar raised by MSU's licensing efforts goes toward student scholarships and special programing, such as student
events and concerts. More than $6 million was raised for the
university through licensing in 2016. "For us, it's more than
buying a cool new T-shirt that comes out or the latest hat,"
Stevens says. "It's about supporting something bigger that's
Because there is such an emotional attachment to the
MSU name, it's important for the licensing department
to protect the brand. When a licensee is developing a new
product, it must submit art samples to MSU's licensing
team for review and approval, giving the university control
over where and how its name appears.