LTP Army Tailgate/Game Tickets On Sale Now! Plus, Purple Court Controversy and The “U”‘s Sinking Ship

Sailgate NU @ Army Tailgate & Game Ticket Only Sale – TODAY!!!!!!

You asked. We listened. The demand for joining the LTP party with game tickets and tailgate packages is still strong. Yes, the boats are all soldout, but we’re re-opening the ticket window today to help you one LAST time. Here is the deal:

We are planning a one day sale for Army game tickets and LTP tailgate packages as we can offer $23 group tickets . We have launched game tickets and tailgate/game ticket packages starting for a 24-hour period ending at 12 pm et tomorrow!  All other Sailgate packages are sold out. Ticket prices are as follows:

Game Ticket= $23
Tailgate = $52
Game + Tailgate = $75

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE ANY OF THE ABOVE TICKET PACKAGES!

Get this. Army ticket agents are telling us that they now expect a sellout for the Northwestern at Army game on September 17.  Why is this news? Well, when we first inquired about tickets for Sailgate, they told us “we’ll have 10,000+ empty seats, how many do you want?” Now, they’re telling us they may not be able to get us all in the same section.  Army averaged 31,667 in 2010 – the team’s first bowl season in more than a decade – and Michie Stadium holds over 40,000. Moral of the story? There is going to be a HUGE purple contingent at West Point. I’d hurry up and buy tickets with us or you might be left out. 

LTP Does Wisky Cameo

Be sure to check out  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wiscobadgers as I’m a guest on a live online telecast.  It will be archived there for you to listen to as well. 

From The Purple Court To The People’s Court & The Purple Color Police

The conspiracy theorists are out in full force.  Northwestern Athletics announced yesterday that the Facebook contest to choose the new design for the Welsh-Ryan floor ended with the selection of the purple trimmed court with a wood stained interior and the skeptics will point to this quote “The final design was chosen through a combination of fan feedback and Northwestern athletics department staff members.”  The contest, launched August 1, was supposed to have come to a close last week, but the announcement was delayed.

 The details aren’t all that important at this point of the post.  The all-purple court option,which garnered national attention for its Boise State-like gimmick factor, seemed to be all the buzz on Twitter and on Facebook. However, when Northwestern was set to announce the winner, fans were met with a “not so fast my friend” delay.  LTP learned that the poll was actually a near deadlock between the all purple and another option and the above photo was a compromise.  Many pointed out that Northwestern shouldn’t have thrown out a gimmick option if they weren’t going to come through on it should the democratic process indeed made it the winner.  However, I learned that the vote was close enough that Northwestern had to conduct some lighting tests on the all purple version and it was less than favorable. Now, the non-purple court selection is the theme of headlines like this one in the Chicago Tribune.

No matter how you slice it, Northwestern’s delay in the final announcement led to all sorts of speculation.  Just, or unjust, it felt like “uh-oh”, we didn’t see this coming, “what will the purple court really mean for us” type of thing.  It’s just that, speculation, since I’m not sure what the actual vote totals were, but NU claims the court received the most “likes” of any of the options. However, in the bigger picture I think this was a win. I like the court design, I like the name of Welsh-Ryan Arena on the court from a branding perspective and I like the wood-stained look.  Granted, this is all window dressing for the soon -to-be announced massive renovations (potential teardown?) for the basketball arena.  I’m showing my age here, but I would not have wanted to be known as a gimmick court that gave me a headache watching our team on TV.  I’m glad it worked out this way. As I write this the local Chicago news stations all have it as part of their newscast and are showing photos and mocking what would’ve been an all purple court. So, once again, NU marketing wins, by creating a buzz, and in my book, preserving the integrity of the program while doing so. 

However, this brings up an old sticking point for me. I’ve posted about it no less than once a year, but it has fallen on deaf ears. That is, the color purple. Northwestern needs a color expert to ensure brand consistency.  The color purple is inconsistent within not only our merchandise and respective teams, but even within the same sport.  The men’s basketball teams’ uniforms have one purple. The Welsh-Ryan floor previously had a bluish tint that wasn’t even close to purple.  It’s a joke. I’m certain we have ten different shades of purple existing on NU-related merchandise, uniforms and collateral marketing material.  It needs to stop.  At times I feel as if anything in the blue family is “good enough”.  Don’t believe me? Take note of it at the 9/10 opener against Eastern Illinois.  The marketing team is doing so much right, but when it comes to basic brand consistency within NU, we need some help. Bring on the purple color police!

The U-Turn

Miami is in trouble. DEEP trouble.  The disturbing trend of CFB programs’ scandals coming to light continues in what I’ll refer to as the tipping point off-season of 2011 as Yahoo! Sports reported a death penalty-like consequences. A convicted Ponzi-scheme mastermind, Nevin Shapiro came clean to Yahoo! Sports claiming to have given benefits – including $10,000 cash, paying for sex parties, cars, yacht trips – to more than 70 players during a nearly ten year span. Yes, the list includes a whose who of those from the “U” including Chicago Bear favorite, Devin Hester.  This may be one of the most understated ESPN headlines of all-time “Ex-Miami Booster Says He Gave Benefits”.  Huh? If Jim Tressel was ridden out of town for covering up emails around the swag-for-tattoos scandal, then this is SMU-type stuff.  Considering the current climate of the NCAA putting academic bite in to play and a host of schools under fire, this is potentially a program ruiner for Miami.  We’ll keep you posted. Again, this only puts more pressure on CFB clean-up which I still say benefits teams like Northwestern.

Penn State Likely Loses RB Stephfon Green

Not sure if this is good news or bad news for our October 22 tussle with JoePa and the Nittany Lions.  ESPN reports that RB Stephfon Green is no longer on the roster and it appears as though the Penn State coach is saying good riddance to one of the many PSU backs that has blitzed NU in recent years. The downside is that Silas Redd, who shredded NU in Happy Valley last year will be getting even more touches.

Bubba Starling Week

It’s Nebraska week on LTP and we have a great line-up still in store, including a Q&A with SBN Nebraska blog, Corn Nation, specifically on Huskers QB Taylor Martinez. However, the big news in Cornhusker country these days is the major announcement by superstar two-sport player Bubba Starling, who recently chose baseball and a lot of commas to go with the KC Royals over playing at Nebraska. You can see just how big this is by checking out the ESPN.com CFB blog report here.

  • VAWildcat

    Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember NU saying that they were going to go with the highest “vote getter”. They said on Facebook, “Help us choose” meaning they were going to choose all along. And they got comments as well as “votes” — presumably the rational sorts of feedback they were looking for. Personally, I think they picked the right design. And, as you say, they sure got a lot of buzz out of the whole thing.

  • Adam

    In addition to the color inconsistency, we have a problem with font inconsistency. The uniforms of our various teams have a wide variety of fonts. I would love to see the same color and font on the uniforms of every NU team to help with brand consistency.

  • Al

    Such a great point on the color and fonts – that is really marketing 101 (no Kellogg degree required). It feels amateurish to have anything different. Consistency will go along way to ensuring that people are seeing one strong cohesive program.

  • PurpleColbert

    LTP –
    Having had some experience with the Colors and Fonts used for the marketing at NU over a 2 year span running making efforts to push the “Paint The Town Purple” program, I can tell you all that Purple is not an easy color to work with consistently.

    Most schools use a primary or secondary color and thus there are all sorts of options for them to use in most formats, be it T-shirts, hats, uniforms, print materials, field and court paints etc. Matching our purple is another story. We have one person, NOT in athletics in charge of the NU brands, copyrights, etc. Decisions run through her. The problem is not the attempt or push to maintain consistency, but the ability to.

    As an example, when I was running my marketing campaign, I had the print values for the purple that is the “official” purple. You can have print and paint set up to match that pretty well, but the problem comes with the context in which you view it in many cases. Different types of lighting affect the way you perceive a color (as I am sure many know). Our purple in particular has a really big problem with that. Perception changes radically between daylight and other artificial lighting. Print is another problem. If you print matte vs. glossy, the color perceived changes. T-shirts are a whole other game – as Hanes, has a very deep royal purple that we used for the “Paint The Town Purple” t-shirts that were sold and now given away by the slingshot at the games. That was perhaps the best match and we got lucky. However, we had to go with “their” purple. We could not create our own. Each t-shirt or hat maker has a different dye and different color for “our” purple.

    Taking all of this (and much more, as I have oversimplified a lot of this) into consideration, I can say that it is no mean feat to get color consistency for our brand. If anything, it has less to do with us than to do with the manufacturers of the products we use. Their could be more oversight, but that would likely mean fewer options for uniforms, merchandise, and all of the good stuff that allows us to show off our brand. I think that the compromise we all have to recognize is that they are doing the best they can. Could more be done, sure, but it isn’t easy. Understand, however, that as NU fans, our perception of purple is very different than most casual fans and observers (the vast majority). They don’t notice anything. We do because of our exposure, but the bottom line is that not many people will ever “perceive” any difference.

  • Aaron

    As it turns out, through a little Googling, there actually is a branding sheet which contains brand standards for Northwestern. Check out the colors on the bottom left, along with logos, etc.

    http://www.northwestern.edu/uservices/docs/NULogoSheet.pdf

    It also looks like we have NU as a registered trademark. How about that, Huskers?

  • Alan

    Agreed on the color inconsistencies. This has been a frustration of mine ever since I was a student. Even the gear I have picked up at the bookstore over the years has always varied wildly in shades of purple. Make me wonder what it would look like if Northwestern ever instituted a “purple” game (ala Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin, etc.). It would be a joke and look out to see thousands of different “purples” represented.

    The sad thing is that the University has very specific guidelines on the color purple. [ See here: http://www.northwestern.edu/univ-relations/identity-system/guidelines.html ] but the athletic department has dropped the ball on getting all aspects of our facilities and merchandise to follow suit. What is stopping them?

  • NU Cat ’95

    There’s so much wrong with our logo/branding/colors that it’s hard to know where to start. (Maybe once we fill the stadium every week, LTP can make a top-to-bottom rebranding his mission.) Among this issues:

    * The “N” on the helmets is actually not the same “N” on the branding sheet (dated July 2010, so it’s pretty current). I personally like the helmet one better. It’s a little bolder and (I think) should be adopted across everything.

    * The “NU” (No. 6 on here: http://www.northwestern.edu/uservices/docs/NULogoSheet.pdf) just looks terrible. It screams 1982. For that matter, so does the font used in Nos. 8 and 9 on the same PDF.

    * Do we even use the treatments in Nos. 14-16? No. 14 used to be in the end zones, but that was replaced (with the style of font we used back in 1994-1996 in the end zones; that’s not even on the sheet) a few years ago. I think I bought t-shirts with the Nos. 15 and 16 logos back when I was a freshman.

    * Can we get rid of the animated Willie in No. 18?

    * The basketball court can’t seem to make up its mind either. On one of the Facebook-posted courts (http://nusports.cstv.com/genrel/081611aac.html), they had the curved “W”. The demo stained one (no direct link, but you can see it here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Northwestern-Athletics/126787113700) had a pointed “W”. (I vote for the pointed one.)

    There’s a LOT to fix and make consistent here. Let’s hope someone who can have an impact is reading this.

  • NU Cat ’95
  • ejsteeler97

    That No. 16 logo was on the shirt I had celebrating the 1993-4 NIT run – I don’t think I’ve seen it since.

    But I agree wholeheartedly with the mishmash of colors, logos and fonts regarding Northwestern apparel. Part of me wishes we could go with Nike and get some sort of consistency (and quality, easily attainable gear).

  • Surfmen93

    Please no Nike…. look at how “consistent” they are with Oregon.

    Addidas is big enough to be the one brand if need be. But the different brands do give a different feel (color/other things aside). I like the 1947 brand for instance, but others may not like that texture.

    For actual uniforms I would think the purple could be consistent though.

  • cheesemacaroni

    LTP-

    Very encouraging news about the potential Army sellout. Looking at the home front, though, I haven’t heard much news about overall season ticket sales. Do you have any inside info on how well they’re doing?

  • @ ’95

    The N logo on the helmet is different because of how high it’s placed. It’s actually not even symmetrical and is curved more, but only to counter the visual effect of the curvature of the helmet.

    @ cheesemacaroni

    I believe LTP has reported and I have heard, as well, that season ticket sales are ahead of where they were last year, even taking into account the non-renewals from the Illinois game. I did hear, though, that the actual base last year was a bit lower than previously reported. Regardless, we should be expecting higher season ticket numbers. We’ll see what happens when conference tickets go on sale Monday, but things are looking up. The outgoing sales staff and marketing are making an impact.

  • AdamDG

    @Surfmen93

    The reason why Oregon’s Nike uniforms aren’t consistent is because Oregon wants them to constantly change. Change is part of Oregon’s brand.

    Nike didn’t mess up Alabama’s uniforms…

  • NU Cat ’95

    @Northwestern Highlights

    Agreed on the slight asymmetrical shaping to account for the curve in the helmet, but look at these two images:

    http://www.thefanscave.com/image_manager/attributes/image/image_56/1097722926_4240564654.jpg (this, I think, is more in line with the “official” school logo)

    http://www.buckeye50.com/Pictures/Helmets/Helmet_Northwestern.jpg (this is what’s actually on the helmets today; frankly, I like this one better — seems a little bolder)

  • Oh, yeah, it’s bolder. I like the look of it on the helmet and it’s probably necessary for it to show up on TV, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about it in other contexts. The current N works well in the N-cat logo, though without the cat head, it does look a bit naked.

  • Lake The Posts

    @cheesemacaroni – as was stated here, overall season ticket sales are up. This is quite a feat considering the 1-year bump from the Wrigley game (it was significant) and the fact several thousand did not renew as they bought for that Wrigley game. We replaced all of those losses and built on the number.

  • NU Cat ’95

    @Northwestern Highlights

    Good point about the thinner one working with the cat head.

    Anyway, I just think it speaks to the larger discrepancies we have all over the place here. Would love to see some (if not all) of them cleaned up. Especially that “U” that the official “N” is paired up with. That looks horrible.

    By the way, if we really want to try to win the “NU” debate with Nebraska, maybe we should go retro with the helmet (scroll down):

    http://www.nationalchamps.net/Helmet_Project/big10.htm

  • CatInTheHat

    I never liked the block N that our athletic department, but it’s obviously not going anywhere, so I guess there’s not much to be discussed in the way of a replacement scheme.

  • PBRCat

    As much as I am pleased that Northwestern is marketing itself more, I do question the placing of some of a few of the billboards. Two billboards for Southbound motorists on I-294 near the railroad switching yards close to Franklin Park? One billboard on US Hwy 41 in Lake County near North Chicago?

    Really?

  • Wildcat86

    Apologies if I missed it, but good news for the basketball team: Demps will be able to rehap his shoulder; no surgery needed (see bottom of the link below).

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/site/newspaper/sports/ct-spt-0817-northwestern-football–20110817,0,6013078.story

  • DT

    Hats off to Lake The Posts for its relentless marketing of NU Football and no doubt, an earnest contribution to any non Wrigley Field associated bump in ticket sales that may indeed be taking place… Great job…

    Got Playboy Magazine and was pleased to see the scribes at The Rabbit having NU ranked #24 with an 8-4 record… Personally, I feel that optimistic, but… Should that be the case, I’ll be quite happy, assuming a bowl win… That said, the last time I was excited about a Playboy College Football ranking regarding NU was going into the 2001 season.. As I remember it, they had The Cats -Top 20, with Randy Walker being “Coach Of The Year”, and Damian Anderson a First Team All American… Let’s just hope, they are more accurate this year than in 01… Man..

  • cece

    once upon a time I recall a conversation with a Tennessee fan about getting the right orange for her garb and she said that the school had one color with all their things. it’s really very simple when it comes to color….Northwestern needs to mandate that everything comes in the Pantone number that they use for official school matters…..colors are numbered and registered for anyone in any color anywhere to check. in fact, why not take it one better, and dub that Pantone number for all to hear NU Purple and push that to manufacturers! fashionistas would eat it up…purple is still very big…. and it would also attack that nasty NU problem that we have with the LarrytheCableGuy/felony/red school.

    NUPurple…..do it…by the numbers.

  • Henry in CT

    @DT Per my recent post regarding the Sagarin ratings I think that 6-6 is a very reasonable expectation but 10-2 is entirely possible with @Iowa and @Nebraska being likely unavoidable losses. According to Saragin NU should be a 10 point dog @BC but I think our aerial attack against their secondary is better than their aerial game against us. (They have a much better ground game however.) The other nine games are all possible wins especially if Persa returns to form and we keep our defense off the field as much as possible. Certainly 8-4 and a bowl victory are in the cards as it would have been last year if Persa hadn’t gone down. The key to this year is we aviod almost certain losses by not having to play OSU and Wisconsin and we get PSU and MSU at home. To get to 8-4 we need to win the four OOC games and go four out of six @Ill, Mich, PSU, @Ind, Minn and MSU.

  • AdamDG

    Montel Harris is out for the game.

    http://bostonherald.com/sports/college/football/view.bg?articleid=1359592&srvc=sports&position=3

    There goes their ground game…

  • Raymond Park

    @Henry: Iowa a likely unavoidable loss??? Is this your first year following Northwestern?

  • Gus

    About the varying purple colors — Just go to the NU official sports website. Wait for the icon in the upper right hand corner to change to a promo for the “Year In Review.” Then count the ### of different purple N’s you see on the HOMEPAGE ALONE. I can count 4 different “N” logos, all with totally different color purples. http://nusports.cstv.com/. That’s ridiculous.

    Then go to other Big Ten websites, like Michigan, or Ohio State, or Penn State, and notice the consistency of the colors. Solid mazes, solid crimsons, uniform through and through. Interestingly, I also noticed in the above helmet link that those three teams have had the most consistent-looking helmets as well, throughout the years.

  • DT

    @Henry-
    I took note of your Sagarin analysis and while I get to it via different logic, I think 6-6 is the most probable record for the year as well. Variables unforseen at this point, make the difference between 5-7 and 7-5 as downside and upside.. I’d like to think Playboy is right in their poll at 8-4, and a Top 25 ranking– but Persa’s rehab and subsequent health remains a huge issue.. Curious to have read Nwabusi saying Fitz, Bates and McGarrigle are all coaching LB’s… Not sure they can coach the current bunch up to an elite Big Ten level… Your on-going observations about “Talent” or lack of it possibly being applicable to that position. Hard to explain why that or running back, where we have been traditionally strong for the most part in the “modern era” is so challenged currently. I’m sure you have some thoughts related to recruiting…

    For what its worth, I see The Army game being tough for NU on the road –early in the season, and something about Kevin Wilson, Kevin Johns and Noah Herron on the sidelines in Bloomington, gives me the Willie’s so to speak… Not sure that jives with Sagarin or your analysis, but my concern nonetheless…

  • Wildcattack!

    Greenberg took a stupid shot at NU in his post on college scandal and Devin Hester:
    http://espn.go.com/chicago/ncf/story/_/id/6872233/chicago-fans-focused-present

    Anybody else think Wilbon should give this guy a dressing down on PTI?

  • DT

    Wildcattack!-
    If it were Mike Greenberg, maybe Wilbon would give a shit… That said, who the heck is Jon Greenberg, and morevoer who cares? On ESPN “Chicago” no less…

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