It has not been the best launch for the American Athletic Conference. UConn is a member and didn't know who was in the conference. ESPN's geography was suspect at best. At the very least, you would think the AAC itself would try to avoid any missteps and promote the heck out of their new league.
[UPDATE : As of noon ET on July 3, the shirts featured in this post have been pulled from the AAC website. Good hustle by The American.]
Depending on your definition of "misstep," the above probably qualifies. It's featured on the AAC's official team store and is one of three Rutgers shirts that features the "B1G" logo. On one hand, I would wager this shirt will be a far better seller than anything featuring the AAC logo as Scarlet Knight fans prepare to jump to the Big Ten next year. On the other hand, you are promoting a different conference on your very own website, one of the few areas where you can directly control the message about the quality of your league. The description of the shirt is as follows (emphasis mine):
You’re a proud supporter of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, and you’re pleased to be a part of the Big Ten conference. Show your support of the Scarlet Knights and of the conference with this Big Ten T-shirt. This shirt features a team logo and the Big Ten logo, surrounded by “Rutgers Scarlet Knights” lettering. With this tee you can express your love for your team, as well as the entire conference – as long as they’re not playing Rutgers of course.
Come on, guys. I understand that a third party is probably handling the online merchandise for the nascent conference and wrote that description, but you can't let that go up. If you want to give Jim Delany or Rutgers the right to start selling conference gear on the Big Ten or Scarlet Knight websites, that's one thing, but have a little bit of self respect.
But it's only Rutgers and the Big Ten, right? Louisville is going to the ACC next summer, but The American surely wouldn't sell Atlantic Coast Conference stuff on their website...
This is, improbably, so much worse than the Rutgers shirt description. Emphasis again mine:
You’re a strong believer in showing people the way. In fact, you’ve converted most of your family to members of the Louisville Cardinals faithful. You also believe that the Atlantic Coast Conference is where all of the real collegiate competition comes from. Celebrate the ACC and Louisville when you wear this ACC Arch T-shirt, featuring arched “Louisville Cardinals” lettering over a team and conference logo. You know that the ACC is truly the best conference of them all, but you want everyone else to be able to see it too!
I can't even. You can buy the Big Ten Rutgers shirts on their team site (but not on the Big Ten's site) and the ACC Louisville shirts from theirs (but not from the ACC's). Again, I'm sure all of the team merchandise automatically funnels to the AAC site, but someone has to step in and make sure descriptions lauding rival conferences aren't showing up in your own shop. I almost feel bad for making fun of The American, but they're a multimillion-dollar business talking a big game.
A positive for the AAC? At least they have a long weekend coming up to regroup.
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