EUGENE, Ore. — The price of using the Ducks logo is rising and some local shops say the new price tag is pushing them out of the running.
The University of Oregon recently put out a request for bids on the use of its logo on apparel, but some businesses say the half-a-million-dollar price tag makes it unrealistic for them to place bids. Prior to this year, the university had a non-exclusive licensing program for the logo, but after an extensive study, the school found that it might be better if one or two businesses did the work.
“The report came back that, yes, we do meet or exceed standards, which is great,” said UO Marketing Director Matt Dyste. “But in the best interests of the university, to stay a market leader we needed to find other ways to optimize our value.”
John Henzie of Triangle Graphics says that the change is being made at the expense of local businesses. “There are only a couple of local licensees–meaning Oregon licensees–who do much business,” he says. “and if you put them all together, they don’t come anywhere close to selling five- to ten-million dollars’ worth of apparel to pay a guaranteed royalty of $500,000.”
Triangle Graphics has been a UO licensee for the last 20 years and Henzie says that Ducks merchandise makes up 20 percent of the company’s overall business. He worries that losing the license will force the business to lay off one or two employees.
Retailers are also concerned about the new licensing fees, including the university’s own Duck Store. General Manager Arlyn Schaufler says the shop likes to buy from local vendors because the profits go back to the students. “In a perfect world, we’d have whoever wins this bid, plus some local vendors do some specialty shirts,” he says.
Despite the concerns expressed by some in the local business community, the university is optimistic about the new policy.
“If we can craft some kind of structure where we’ve got someone who’s truly focused on the institution, I don’t believe that the ability to do quick-turn products or creative designs will go away in any way, shape or form,” says Dyste.