The University of Cincinnati, in collaboration with its exclusive trademark licensing agent, IMG College Licensing, has announced an agreement with HanesBrands to serve as the University’s primary licensee for apparel products. The new deal covers Cincinnati-branded men’s, women’s, youth, and infant/toddler apparel across all retail channels.
The deal ensures that the University has greater control over the supply chain along with stability in licensing income over the next six years. Cincinnati will continue its partnership with Under Armour, the exclusive supplier of uniforms and apparel for the University’s varsity teams, coaches, and staff. Additionally, semi-exclusive headwear partnerships that are currently in place will remain, as well as programmes with other best-in-class licensees in select product categories to ensure a robust selection of merchandise for Bearcats fans and consumers, according to a press release by HanesBrands.
While HanesBrands has been a Cincinnati licensee since 1992 under its Champion label, the new agreement represents a continued effort by the Cincinnati licensing programme to strategically manage the University’s brand to provide top-quality products for Bearcats fans while securing long-term brand value for the University.
“As the retail landscape continues to evolve, especially with the growth in online sales, it’s important that we partner with best-in-class licensees, like HanesBrands, that are committed to growing the Cincinnati brand and delivering additional resources back to the University. After working with our partners at IMG College Licensing to analyse proposals from companies interested in a stronger relationship with the University, we decided HanesBrands and its family of top apparel companies was the best fit for our brand and meet the needs of retailers providing great apparel for our constituents,” Martin Ludwig, Cincinnati’s director of trademarks and licensing said.
On top of partnering with a global brand, the agreement provides the University a minimum guarantee that ensures more than a 20 per cent growth in apparel royalties following the 8 percent growth the University experienced during the past three years. The University will also gain access to academic resources through internships, participation by HanesBrands executives in University programmes and projects, and additional resources to develop, grow, and merchandise the presence of Cincinnati product in the marketplace. HanesBrands will also fund annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) trips for Cincinnati staff to visit factories making licensed merchandise to review production and ensure compliance with University workplace codes of conduct.
Cincinnati began strategically managing its brand through IMG College Licensing in 2005 with its first semi-exclusive programme in the headwear category, followed with a mass channel exclusive with Knights Apparel, a division of HanesBrands. Since that time, Cincinnati has pursued partnerships with licensees that are aligned with the brand goals of the University.