America's Home for College Sports

Brooks Brothers Gets Smart with Collegiate Apparel
Affluent and educated fans attracts 200-year old brand into college market
Aug 04, 2011

Considering college sports fans are the most affluent and educated in sports, it was only a matter of time before a brand like Brooks Brothers joined the licensing party.

Later this month, when the nearly 200-year old brand begins carrying Notre Dame dress shirts, Alabama polos and Princeton ties, it will mark the first time the company has agreed to a line of licensed collegiate merchandise.

In all, Brooks Brothers will sell merchandise from 15 schools, including Auburn, Georgetown, Georgia, Ohio State, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Virginia, the U.S. Naval Academy and others.

"The key for us is re-establishing our connection with students, faculty and alumni," Karl Haller, VP of Strategy and Business Development for Brooks Brothers, told Bloomberg. "We have a pretty well-educated customer, and there's a built-in opportunity with alumni who are already our customer base."

Among all sports fans, college fans earn the most. In fact, roughly 30 million college fans make $100,000 or more a year--that's nearly 20% of the massive college fan base of 172 million fans.

"The demographics of college sports and the Brooks Brothers' target customers are a fantastic match," said Scott Bouyak, IMG College's SVP of Brand and Business Development. "As stewards of the college brand, we long looked at Brooks Brothers as an ideal partner in terms of a retail outlet that targets a key group of alumni and a demo that fits the college market."

With online, bookstore and campus store distribution supplementing its flagships stores, Brooks Brothers wants to become top of mind with customers they might not have reached yet.

At some schools, they'll try to connect with students who may put on the occasional toga. Other colleges offer instant prospects.

"At some SEC schools like Alabama, Auburn and Georgia, students already wear ties and blazers," Bouyack said. "Now we'll be giving them collegiate suits and ties to wear."