FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas Athletic program unveiled a large branding partnership with Disney last night during their annual HOGSPY athletics banquet.
The collaboration includes prominent placement of the Disney character Pumbaa from the Lion King. The move comes as a part of the changes with the ESPN owned SEC network which will debut this fall. ESPN, owned by Disney, announced that programs participating in the cross brand promotion will earn a higher percentage of the TV package.
“We are thrilled to have Pumbaa become the face of our program, it will be a win for fans of all ages,” Arkansas Athletic director Jeff Long tells us. “Any time we make a change like this there are always fans who will be unhappy. However this promotion puts us very close to our revenue goal to build the stadium expansion and my new office. It could always be worse, we hear Tennessee will change their mascot from Smokey to Goofy with the 2014 football season.”
Changes to the program include a new Pumbaa secondary logo, replacing the Big Red mascot with a costume Pumbaa, and renaming Razorvision to the Disney Warthog Channel.
Along with the cosmetic changes, the Razorbacks will introduce a couple of significant tradition changes. Pumbaa will lead the hogs out of the tunnel and into the “Circle of Life” at the start of every football game. Most notably the school’s fight song and motto will change to Hakuna Matata.
“We wanted a fight song that more accurately fits our modern athletic department,” Long tells us. “Hakuna Matata is about not worrying. Your basketball program loses the last game of the season to the worst team in the SEC and costs a NCAA tournament bid? Hakuna Matata. Your star football coach wrecks his bike with a blonde he questionably hired on the back? Hakuna Matata. We decide to slowly kill Little Rock games? Hakuna Matata. That huge coaching hire drops a bomb in conference play? Hakuna Matata.”