The Syracuse Orange football team has four uniforms in their current set, all supplied by Nike. PLATINUM hasn’t been heard from (for good reason) since 2014, but the blue, white and orange jerseys all get pretty regular rotation for SU on the field.
So as we’ve asked multiple times before: Why can we only buy one of those (the blue one), despite fans openly pining for an option to purchase the orange jerseys?
Ends up it’s all Nike’s fault.
Syracuse.com’s Chris Carlson spoke to Syracuse athletics and Nike this week to get to the bottom of things, and despite SU requesting both blue and orange for sale the past two years, Nike simply won’t budge. As SUA’s Sue Edson told Carlson, Nike just doesn’t think there’s enough retailer or consumer demand to make orange jersey production profitable.
Carlson followed up with Nike for further comment, but they had not responded at the time of publication today.
For what it’s worth, new Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack seems to understand the fan demand for orange jerseys and is hopeful they’re available soon. When speaking to Carlson initially, he was actually surprised fans couldn’t buy one.
There’s another layer to all of this as well. For Nike, Syracuse basketball is a tier-one property that receives all the benefits thereof: diverse collections of jerseys, tees and other merchandise. Syracuse football, on the other hand is on a lesser tier, and therefore doesn’t receive the same types of investment on Nike’s end. Sure, we receive new uniforms every three or five years. But overall merchandise available to fans is minimal at best -- and is dwarfed by what the likes of other schools (sponsored by Nike and other outfitters) offer. From my own travels, I can tell you that schools from UCLA, North Carolina and Texas, down to Northwestern, Vanderbilt and NC State all have more football merchandise readily available for fans, by far.
Nike, I know you’re not reading this. But c’mon. Just make the damn orange jerseys. We’re all pretty committed to buying one. And the football fan base is bigger than you thi—
Tonight's attendance: 32,184— Syracuse Athletics (@Cuse) September 10, 2016
Oh. Nevermind. That’s why you’re not doing it. Carry on.