WATCH: UCF Knights to Pay Tribute to Space Industry with ‘Mission V: Discovery’ Alternate Uniforms
By UCF Knights // October 15, 2021
Special Uniforms pay tribute to the 40th Anniversary of the Shuttle Program
WATCH: The UCF Knights football team to pay tribute to the 40th Anniversary of the Shuttle Program with the new “Mission V: Discovery” alternate uniforms against Memphis on October 22.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – The UCF Knights football team to pay tribute to the 40th Anniversary of the Shuttle Program with the new “Mission V: Discovery” alternate uniforms against Memphis on October 22.
So, now, welcome to the 21st century.
October 22nd’s game against Memphis provides the latest “Space Game” wrinkle —and, boy, are these Nike design elements a long ways from those old traditional football threads worn by the Knights.
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“Under (former UCF head coach from 2004-15) George O’Leary we mostly wore gold jerseys at home with white pants,” says Eric DeSalvo, UCF’s assistant athletics director for #content (he directs all the Knights’ football social media accounts).
“On the road it was white jerseys with either gold or white pants. Always the same helmet—the stacked UCF logo on a white helmet and a large stripe down the middle that was gold with black.”
Five years ago, UCF decided to change the approach to its football game uniforms as part of a complete rebranding exercise—and the results have turned the Knights’ week-by-week apparel announcements into must-see TV.
The UCF equipment room now has its own Twitter account—from which it officially “announces” what uniform combination the Knights will wear each weekend.
“We look at what we’ve done in the past and try to do something different. Sometimes I’ll get input from players or others in the department,” says Worner.
“I generally create a spreadsheet in the summer for the games, but we’re not locked into that. We still make the decisions week to week.
“We want to make sure that we don’t end up wearing the same color pants or helmets as our opponent, just in case they make a late change.
“So there’s not always a lot of science behind it – some of it is just common sense.
“And we want to be able to take advantage of all the combinations we have to help to promote that aspect of the UCF brand.”
Adds DeSalvo, “Rich asked if he could get a UCF equipment Twitter account, and so we unveiled that the day we launched the uniforms (May 5, 2016). People went, ‘Whoa, we’ve got an equipment Twitter account now?’
“But we knew people would be intrigued to see what we would wear week to week because we had all these options now.”
All the various combinations also allow the UCF marketing staff to coordinate recommendations for what colors fans should wear—and the multiple options have even given rise to a third-party Twitter account that actually keeps track of how the Knights play in their various pieces of apparel.
“Each week our team created a graphic template where we would plug in the helmet, jersey, and pants. (Former UCF designer) Carlos Phillips made every single possible combination, so we just plugged in what Rich told us it would be from one week to the next.
“We still use those same templates—we’ve just updated the jersey to number 19 to signify the year. When it’s a new combo we’ll use computer animation. Sometimes we’ll mix it up and use a uniform model and add a short video. In other games, it’s just the standard graphic that goes out about two o’clock each Thursday afternoon.
“It (the uniform announcement) gets really good engagement—one or two hundred retweets, 500 or 600 likes.
“A lot of quote tweets with people sharing their fashion advice—some good, some bad, some pretty funny stuff.
“Then we share it across Instagram and Facebook as well and a lot of feedback comes back from those. It’s something people look forward to–people seem to generally like it.”
The new uniform plans also gave UCF a reason for a throwback, once-per-year, retro tribute to its early years–the late 1960s when the original unofficial UCF mascot was the Citronaut, a nod to both the Florida citrus industry and to the University’s connection with NASA and the space program.
For the fifth consecutive year in 2021, the Knights October 22nd match versus Memphis, UCF will wear an entire specially designed uniform (helmet included) dedicated to that space connection.
The official theme this year is “Mission V: Discovery” a tribute to 40 years of the shuttle program. The “Space Game” uniforms each season result from a full year of collaboration between Nike, Worner, and UCF athletics marketing staffers, led by Jimmy Skiles, associate athletics director for brand advancement.
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