May 26, 2024

Wolverine Boots Celebrate Michigan Football with Spring Game Launch

Michigan and head coach Sherrone Moore officially begin a new era in Ann Arbor this weekend – with their annual Maize & Blue Spring Game – kicking off their National Champion defense for the 2024-25 season. As the team celebrates their recent title and looks toward the future, Michigan-based boot maker Wolverine – boasting the most appropriate name for a Michigan NIL collaboration – continues to support student-athletes in unique ways.

In partnership with sports marketing agency Valiant Management Group and the Champions Circle collective, the 140-year-old Rockford, Michigan-based brand is launching a new Michigan boot and apparel collection to celebrate the Spring Game. The drop features two colorways of the Wolverine x Valiant University of Michigan Floorhand Moc-Toe Work Boot – with maize and blue detailing, including the Michigan logo – plus short sleeve, long sleeve and 1/2 zip apparel made with recycled polyester and UPF 50+ sun protection.

Student-athletes will earn a portion of sales, like Wolverine’s test-run last year with their boots that were sold exclusively at the school’s official athletic merchandise retailer, The M Den. This Spring Game launch is Wolverine’s first larger scale retail release of the Michigan boots and just the start of the brand’s continued NIL expansion with the university.

“We are finding that the NIL program works extremely well for us,” shared Wolverine’s Chief Marketing Officer, Scott Schoessel. “Our objective from a NIL perspective is to drive brand heat, excitement and awareness and it has done all three in spades. We typically see two times the engagement with NIL versus traditional marketing, so we will continue to expand.”

A season ago, Wolverine collaborated with 13 football players – including running back duo All-American Blake Corum and CFP National Champion Game hero Donovan Edwards – on a “Maize and Blue Collar” campaign that showcased how each athlete embodies the brand’s spirit of tenacity, grit and determination. Edwards and tight end Colston Loveland will anchor Wolverine’s 2024 NIL programming, in addition to leading the reigning champions’ new-look offense.

To continue the momentum heading into the season, Wolverine will also release a limited-edition commemorative Team #144 1000 Mile Boot, celebrating the National Champions squad. The launch of that collectors item is expected to land over the Summer.

“The cultures just match up extremely well,” Schoessel added. “We will continue to look to build even above and beyond NIL marketing to grow this. How do we start marketing product? How do we start building internships, working back and forth with the school?”

But beyond the product launches and about 50% increase in NIL budget for 2024, Schoessel and Wolverine have built a deeper connection to Michigan and the football team in particular, focused on the blue collar mentality and work ethic that extends across the brand and the athletic program.

Coach Moore, Edwards and All-American Zak Zinter recently spoke to Wolverine’s entire organization during their goal-setting week and the brand is looking to create athlete opportunities beyond just NIL.

“A big part of the NIL program is not just what happens to those players who you know are going to the NFL,” Schoessel continued. “It’s about what happens to those players who are great college athletes but are going pro in something other than football. NIL can’t be just for the select few, it needs be for an entire team and beyond football to help service those sports that don’t have as big as draws as well.”

Michigan’s Maize & Blue Spring Game kicks off at 11AM ET on Saturday, airing live on FOX.

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