The new mascot costume will make its first appearance at the spring football game in April 2013, and its first regular season appearance at the start of fall football. Apparel and merchandise bearing the new Sparky character is available now at a limited number of retail outlets, including Sparky's Stadium Shop and the Sun Devil Campus Stores.
ASU alum Stephen Teglas, '89, vice president of licensing at Disney Consumer Products (DCP), was instrumental in ensuring the relationship with InnovationSpace is a success. An avid Sun Devil, Teglas has also led the charge in these new initiatives with DCP.
"Our involvement with InnovationSpace has been very productive," Teglas said. "We are very impressed with the caliber of the students, the faculty and the body of work we're seeing."
Disney has a longstanding connection to ASU that goes back to 1946 when Berk Anthony, a Disney artist returning from military service in World War II, drew the iconic image of Sparky the Sun Devil. This iconic Sparky trademark has remained the same since 1946.
The university will continue to use the iconic mark on apparel and merchandise, banners, marketing materials, facilities and in numerous other applications as it has in the past. The university will use the new illustrated character as the basis for an update to its mascot costume, which is standard practice in collegiate and professional sports. The costume has been updated in appearance many times over the years to appeal to contemporary audiences.
The relationship between ASU and Disney has continued to expand over the years, and in 2010, faculty and students from ASU's InnovationSpace program began working with Disney Consumer Products to develop a line of unique products. InnovationSpace is an entrepreneurial joint venture among the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the W.P. Carey School of Business. InnovationSpace teaches students how to develop products that create market value while serving real societal needs and minimizing impacts on the environment.
"We seek to create products that are progressive, possible and profitable," said Prasad Boradkar, associate professor in the School of Design and director of InnovationSpace. "At the same time, they must have a meaningful impact on the daily lives of ordinary people."
According to Boradkar, from their factory production to their disposal, consumer products can have enormous impacts on the environment. As a result, InnovationSpace is committed to exploring new methodologies for sustainable product innovation.