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Conference Branding within the NCAA

Recently, the America East Conference revealed its transformation. Its new logo, look, and brand identity exemplify the future of the conference and the living legacies of its member institutions. This change, however, got me thinking: what is really behind the brand and marketing strategies of each of the NCAA conferences?

In theory, the brand of each NCAA conference is supposed to help differentiate it from its competing conferences. It is meant to help create a story that vendors, alumni, fans, and students alike can feel proud of being a part of. In the midst of the many recent waves of conference realignment, this story is especially important to manufacture in order to ensure that the conferences live up to their historic ideals and adapt to the changing times.

The brand of each conference is essentially an extension of the brand of each member institution. Yet, where does the brand image of each school end and the brand image of the conference begin? As such, do schools with huge fan bases and followings directly affect the brand image of their conference? Do conferences with schools that are dominant in either football or basketball (or both) inherently have stronger brand identities or are the brands actually more creative and innovative? On top of this, where does the brand image of the conference end and the brand of the entire NCAA organization take over?

Over the coming weeks, I will be exploring the theme of brand identity within the NCAA. I will be looking at it mostly from the conference perspective, but will look to see how each member institution’s own brand image influences its conferences image as a whole.

Leave a comment below with some things you might like to see covered going forward about conference branding with the NCAA.

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