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March 17th, 2014 by Brendan Dunne / 2
The NCAA March Madness tournament has long been an important marketing tool for sneaker companies. Ever since the tournament rose to televised prominence, different brands have vied for sponsorship deals with top seeded teams that ensure plenty of TV time for their basketball offerings that season (Nike co-founder Phil Knight even toyed with the idea doling out the money necessary to outfit every single Division 1 team with Swoosh gear back in the 90s in order to land an unprecedented level of brand ubiquity). These sorts of sponsorships allow the sneaker companies to present a much more unified vision than in the NBA – the squads in the Big Dance are compelled to stay within the lines of their school’s sponsorship deals, as opposed to NBA teams that usually consist of a mixture of individual endorsers wearing the sneakers of rival brands.
With Selection Sunday settling all the seeds into their respective brackets yesterday, we’ve now got a solid portrait of the brand breakup as far as schools are concerned. Nike and Jordan Brand lead the pack with 45, adidas comes in second with 18, and Russell Athletic and Under Armour round the pack out with 4 and 1, respectively. More teams for any given company doesn’t necessarily mean time in the spotlight though – there is also the seeding of the teams to consider (Last year adidas Basketball was also second place to Nike/Brand Jordan but they ended up with an all-adidas finals in the Louisville/Michigan match). With that being said, the Swoosh is looking good in that regard as they’ve got all the #1 seeds locked up. adidas is also looking strong towards the top though – they’ve got three of the #2 seeds. Take a look at the full bracket and read on to see what sneakers you can expect to see beginning today.
Source: Sporting News