USC teams up with Dallas Cowboys for merchandising deal

The USC athletic department has signed a 10-year license agreement with Silver Star Merchandising, an apparel manufacturer and distributor launched in 2010 by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his family, USC athletic director Pat Haden announced Thursday.

Financial terms of the agreement, which goes into effect in August, were not disclosed by the school. But with the deal, which reportedly will pay the school a higher annual rate than USC's previous apparel deals, SSM will obtain the exclusive license to manufacture and distribute USC-branded apparel in all retail channels, including online at USCTrojans.com and through many major retail outlets.

It also does not supersede USC's existing agreement with apparel giant Nike, the official outfitter of all 21 official USC athletic programs. And the Trojans will continue to operate a licensing program in-house, with most -- but not all -- of their licensed apparel produced by SSM and Nike.

“It is a perfect marriage,” Haden said in a statement. “When we were presented with the opportunity to partner with Silver Star Merchandising, it became clear to us that their expertise in the apparel business with a top brand like the Dallas Cowboys meant that they would represent and shepherd our USC brand in the same manner throughout Southern California and the United States.

“SSM has demonstrated that they feel as strongly about their brand as we do ours, so they will be a great brand ambassador for us. Further, with this agreement, the breadth and availability of USC apparel offerings will be much greater than it has been in the past.”

Dallas had been in discussions for a similar arrangement with The Ohio State University, according to SportsBusiness Daily, and the Cowboys have also worked in tandem with the New York Yankees to create a joint hospitality program in the last few years.

“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with a historic program like that at USC,” said Jerry Jones Jr., president of Silver Star Merchandising and the son of the Cowboys' longtime owner. “We take very seriously the responsibility of managing a brand like the Trojans, and understand completely the hard work and dedication made by the coaches and student-athletes at USC to create that legacy.

"Knowing that, we will apply all our marketing and distribution resources into growing the brand and product lines for the benefit of everyone who follows USC.”