Florida makes big move joining Jordan Brand's growing college football footprint
The Gators are just the fourth college football program to represent Jordan Brand on the field
Jordan Brand is quickly expanding into college football, and now the iconic apparel provider has reached the SEC with Florida agreeing to become the first program in the league -- and just the fourth college football team in the country -- to wear the Jumpman logo on the field.
The Gators will announce Wednesday afternoon a move to Jordan Brand as the new apparel provider for football as well as the men's and women's basketball teams. Florida will have the Jordan Brand logo on its uniforms and official apparel beginning in the 2018-19 season with merchandise becoming available next summer.
The expansion of Jordan Brand into college football has been mostly recent, starting with Michigan in 2016. Michael Jordan was then on hand as his alma mater, North Carolina, announced the addition of the Tar Heels' football team to the roster (Jordan Brand has previously outfitted the basketball team for several years).
Oklahoma was just announced as a new addition to Jordan Brand's college football presence in November, and like Florida, the Sooners will begin wearing the Jumpman for the 2018-19 season.
The arrival of Jordan Brand at Florida coincides with the return of new head coach Dan Mullen, the Gators' two-time national championship-winning offensive coordinator. Already a noted purveyor of sneaker culture -- remember the kicks that caused a ruckus at SEC Media Days? -- it comes as no surprise that Mullen is excited about the partnership.
"I can't wait to roll into SEC Media Days with a fresh pair of Jordans. I will be rocking them in recruiting as well," Mullen told CBS Sports. "Recruits are always asking about swag and what kind of gear we have. ... Obviously, it is a great marketing and branding advantage to be associated with the Jordan Brand -- and at the same time, the gear is comfortable and functional for our players."
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley and North Carolina coach Larry Fedora agree that the reaction of the players on the recruiting trail has been massive. College football players today have lived their entire lives with Jordan Brand as a primary player in the apparel game, and right now, only four college football programs can claim an association with Jumpman.
"Every single player we're recruiting knows about it. They all want to see the different uniforms we're going to wear, the different shoes that we get," Fedora said. "It's something that has become an important part of what we've got to offer at the University of North Carolina."
Bringing on blue-blood programs like Oklahoma and Florida in the last couple months is not only an expansion deeper into college football but part of Jordan's evolution from a basketball-exclusive brand. Jordan is still an extension of Nike, so the apparel giant isn't losing Oklahoma and Florida to a competitor as much as those schools are getting a branding upgrade with the addition of the Jumpman logo and Jordan Brand gear for players and fans.
"I'm excited to see how our partnership evolves," Riley said. "If you've kept up with Jordan Brand and look back to where it started, it began as shoes. They've really evolved and I think it's pretty cool that they've jumped in with a few very select college football programs. It will be great to see where we all evolve from this. We'll be at the forefront of making sure our players have the best, trying new things, new ideas, and leading the charge as far as that race. I think it's the start of something special and it's going to be a great journey together."
As for the future of Jumpman's expansion into college football? Stay tuned, because them boys are definitely up to something.
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