Notre Dame's New York Yankees Uniforms: Good Co-Branding Idea, Poor Execution
Although the fanbases at the universities of Alabama and Michigan and Ohio State University would disagree, the University of Notre Dame has become synonymous with college football. The Fighting Irish have not claimed a national title in 30 years, but that hasn't diminished their marketing swagger, with the Shamrock Series, through which they engage in offsite home games, proving a profitable aid since 2009.
On Nov. 17, after a one-year hiatus, the duel will return and will find the Indiana-based team venturing to Yankee Stadium to try to squeeze the will out of the Syracuse Orange. As an homage to the setting and its customary baseball occupants, the Fighting Irish will call on Under Armour for Yankees-inspired uniforms, and, well, they are uuuuugly.
The Fighting Irish.
Two Iconic Brands.
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) August 16, 2018
We do not possess as much disdain for the apparel as One Foot Down, which dubbed it a “disaster,” but we can say we will be far more interested in seeing how the game turns out than in noting how coach Brian Kelly’s players perform in the threads. Since the game is exactly three months away, we want to critique the uniforms as soon as possible, hoping that by addressing their hideous look now, we will have run out of objections to the design come kickoff time. The tilt will come five days before Thanksgiving, and while attendees and television audiences are feasting on the pre-holiday visuals, we expect many others to question what Notre Dame was thinking when it approved the outfit.
We certainly love the idea of co-branding, especially within the sports realm, and pairing the Fighting Irish with the Yankees sounds amazing and will make for some serious merchandise sales, for sure, given their iconic standing in their respective sports. However, is novelty to trump aesthetics in this matter? This will mark the second time the Shamrock Series has come to the Bronx, with Army falling 27-3 in 2010, and since the Yankees will be done their season, it makes great sense to keep the field warm for a bit ahead of next year.
I hope Notre Dame does this sort of thing every year forever https://t.co/WiGTbjvabX
— Jason Kirk (jasonkirk.fyi on bluesky) (@thejasonkirk) August 17, 2018
The Fighting Irish, who stand a perfect 8-0 in the Shamrock Series, will draw a massive crowd that will ooh and aah over the attire, but what about the roster members who must wear it? They will likely be psyched to have a chance to play at Yankee Stadium (even as fans of other Major League Baseball teams, we would be, too), especially while doing so as football players, but we feel just a tad sorry for them that they are not wearing something a little ritzier.
Granted, the Yankees’ garb has always been devoid of flashiness, but this Shamrock Series matchup against the Orange could have proven an opportunity to defy the commonplace. Instead, we are left with a standard shout-out to the Bronx Bombers’ pinstripes. Like a thief in any Western movie, we are wondering, with respect to Notre Dame’s color scheme, where’s the gold? Yes, the game is a one-off celebration, but why abandon that which is as linked with the Fighting Irish as Touchdown Jesus, the Four Horsemen and the Gipper (among other iconic associations) in presenting the Fighting Irish in that setting? Maybe our objection means we are destined to become co-branding pioneers. Who wants to join us?