Athletic Department cuts ties with M-Den

BY HILLARY KATSIN
Daily Staff Reporter
Published July 2, 2009

The Athletic Department’s 10-year contract with Ann Arbor-based apparel company M-Den ended June 30, according to Jason Winters, chief financial officer of the Athletic Department.

Since the contract was signed in July 1999, M-Den has sold University team apparel at Michigan Stadium during football seasons and other athletic events on campus.

In anticipation of the contract’s end, the Athletic Department put up a bid for apparel companies to submit proposals. On the last day of M-Den’s contract, Dallas-based eSports Partners Inc. was announced as the successor, beating out several other companies — including M-Den.

“There were a number of entities interested,” Winters said. “We were looking for better royalty rates, economic performance (and the) ability to grow and respond to consumers.”

The new 10-year contract promises to generate $1.5 million in its first year. Winters said that M-Den typically afforded the University about $500,000 to $600,000 per year.

Winters added that eSports Partners Inc. will carry apparel of its own design as well as an assortment of Adidas products. Adidas is the main merchandise partner of the University.

The new brand apparel, operated by eSports Partners Inc., will be sold at Michigan Stadium and online at www.mgoblueshop.com — the new official online store of Michigan athletics that opened July 1.

According to a press release, proceeds from purchases on the Web site will support Athletic Department scholarhips and programs.