In 2015, Michael Jordan entered the college football market when he collaborated with the Michigan Wolverines on an apparel deal. The school had ended its previous shoe deal and opened its doors to the Jordan brand.
The move to consider Jordan was influenced by Coach Jim Harbaugh’s son, Jay at a time the coach had assumed the role of trying to bring back to life the Wolverines’ football program, according to Sports Illustrated.
“When we first took the job here, there was a shoe contract that was up,” Harbaugh is quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying. “There’s a lot of good shoes out there, etc. My son, Jay, came up with the idea. He’s like, ‘There’s no Jordan football school. That would be pretty awesome.'”
Jordan and the school eventually agreed to a 15-year, $173.8 million deal to make the Jordan Brand the school’s exclusive apparel sponsor. At the time, it was the largest apparel deal in college football.
What is more, the Jordan Brand collaboration is said to have given the Michigan school extra leverage to sign highly talented individuals, according to former Super Bowl MVP and Michigan alumnus Desmond Howard. This is because very few college athletes get to wear exclusive Jordan Brand apparel and shoes while playing on the field.
“I believe it all started when they (Michigan) signed with Jumpman because when they did that, it gave them credibility with a lot of recruits they wanted,” Howard said.
Last month, Jordan celebrated with some of his brand’s ambassadors including rapper Travis Scott when Michigan defeated Washington, 34-13, in the CFP National Championship to secure the school’s first national title since 1997, according to Sports Illustrated.