MSU Athletics signs Under Armour contract, rolls out new logo

The existing  Bobcat logo will be phased out in the next few months. Photo by Nicole Smith.
The existing Bobcat logo will be phased out in the next few months. Photo by Nicole Smith.

The Montana State University Athletic Department has signed a new equipment contract with Under Armour following Nike’s contract expiration on December 31, 2012. Coinciding with the contract change, MSU will officially unveil a new Bobcat logo at a press conference at Bobcat Stadium on April 17.


Upon the expiration of any contract with MSU, the university and the state of Montana release a Request for Proposal (RFP). An RFP establishes criteria for the new contract and serves as an invitation for companies to bid on the contract. Under Armour best matched the needs listed and signed a five-year contract with MSU Athletics, with the option of two one-year contract extensions at the end of the five-year period.


Under Armour offered around $52,500 in what Director of Equipment Operations Scott Gifford called “free money” — twice as much as the Nike contract offered. “We got things like better discounts on shoes, and [Under Armour] gave some [athletic teams and] programs more money than before,” Gifford explained.


Because existing Nike athletic equipment will be replaced, the athletic department is using the opportunity to update the Bobcat logo. Most colleges update or change their logos every eight to ten years, and the current logo has been in use for nine years.


The new logo is a university initiative to “enhance our image,” explained Associate Athletic Director of Marketing Drew Ingraham, “we want to create more consistency in our branding.” The new bobcat has perked ears, more fur detailing and a pale chin in an attempt to enhance the realism of the emblem while maintaining the image’s familiarity. The rebranding will also establish consistent font use throughout MSU athletic marketing.


The parties involved, including MSU, Under Armour, the Collegiate Licensing Company and various producers and merchandisers, have signed a nondisclosure agreement protecting the logo until its official release next week. The agreement protects the image from unauthorized use until merchandise producers build inventory.

Local licensed retailers of MSU apparel including Universal Athletics, the MSU Bookstore and Shirtworks will display merchandise with the new logo at the press conference. Official retailers will have six months to phase out the old logo.