Silver Star Merchandising, a new offshoot of Cowboys Merchandising Ltd. run by the Jones family, announced a 10-year deal with USC Thursday for exclusive rights to manufacture, license and distribute Trojan-themed apparel — shirts, hats, replica jerseys, onesies, etc. — marking the first phase of its plan to overtake the campus market with the exclusive-rights model. From SportsBusiness Journal:
The deal with USC consolidates all licensing deals for its apparel under one agreement with Silver Star with the exception of uniforms and apparel worn by USC athletes and coaches on the field of play. Nike continues to hold those rights.
Silver Star's strategy is to develop a private label brand of Southern Cal jerseys, T-shirts and hats with the tags on those items displaying only the Trojan athletics logos, [Silver Star president Jerry Jones Jr.] said.
Under the terms of the agreement, Silver Star has flexibility to sign deals with other manufacturers to produce items to take advantage of market trends, he said. Those lines would also be branded exclusively with the Trojans marks.
Currently, most schools have marketing, licensing and distribution contracts with hundreds of partners; associate athletic director Jose Eskenazi estimated that USC currently has deals with "several dozen," worth "well over $20 million" altogether. Silver Star convinced the Trojans to consolidate the brand under just two roofs (along with Nike for on-field gear) by promising wider distribution, greater access to mass-merchandising big box stores like Target and Kohl's and (most importantly) greater royalties from sales.
To date, USC is Silver Star's only client, but it won't be the last: The Joneses went after Texas last year — they got the idea to get into college merchandising while talking with Texas officials at a UT-North Carolina basketball game in December 2009 — and seem to be very much in the mix to land a deal with Ohio State.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.
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