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Discussing Nike and the Syracuse athletic brand

Let’s talk about SU’s branding a bit, shall we?

Syracuse v Virginia Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Out front, I’ll call out that we’re speculating significantly here.

Just last week, we were talking about the impending deal between Nike and the Syracuse Orange that hopefully gets us some new branding (and uniforms). We could be seeing the first signs of movement on such an agreement — or potentially nothing at all.

As you may recall around this time last year, Nike changed its college gear homepage and Syracuse’s logo was no longer out front. You could still find Orange gear there. But the logo was no longer on the front banner.

Fast forward 364 days, and not only is Syracuse back on the banner, but there was a familiar (but not current) logo sitting there as well:

The “banner logo,” as you may be familiar with, was one of Syracuse’s logos from 1992-2003. The branding was less rigid and more bubbly then. We had some great uniforms to go with that mark, which functioned as a secondary logo despite its prominence on gear, signage, etc.

It’s tough to tell exactly how long it’s been up there, but replies on Twitter seem to indicate not long at all. The Wayback Machine’s typically pretty good for things like this, yet it indicated the logo has been there since at least March. Update: It was changed back to the block S.

There’s also the issue of Virginia’s logo — sitting on the same line as ours — also being a throwback to a previous mark. This seems pretty odd given that the Hoos just won a title. So both “vintage” logos could mean one of two things:

1. Nothing. Nike can use any official marks, and just went with the throwback ones here randomly

2. There’s some chance that either school could opt for some sort of rebrand — or at least an incorporation of throwback merch (again, all speculative)

Regarding the second bullet, there ARE only a handful of items for both Syracuse (6) and Virginia (5), potentially indicating they didn’t make much in the way of new stuff with the previous logos this year in order to make room for the updated marks prior to the 2019-20 season. That said, schools like Gonzaga, Minnesota and Marquette have even fewer items and their current logos are up, so tough to use that as a gauge.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Andy comes up with potential reasoning around why Nike has the banner logo up, and part of that is to move units with an old and potentially beloved mark that stands out among the rest (even if the primary logo isn’t changing). The block ‘S’ is right next to Stanford. Speculating: This could very well just be a way to make sure people click the right school.

The fact that SU moved back onto the front page, though, means there was a concerted effort on Nike’s part to feature them once again, even if that doesn’t mean anything “new” is happening.

We don’t know anything just yet — if at all. So until we hear about a new contract being finalized, we’re just sort of thinking out loud (and even when one’s signed, that’s not guaranteed to indicate any change).