Varsity Brands

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Varsity Brands
Industryapparel, sports equipment, cheerleading, cheerleading apparel, graduation
FounderJeff Webb, Founder and Chairman
Key people
Adam Blumenfeld, CEO
Productsathletic apparel, athletic footwear, cheerleading apparel, camps, competitive events, graduation products, class rings, yearbooks, jewelry
Number of employees

Varsity Brands is a private company in the United States. The company produces apparel and equipment for football and 11 other sports; class rings, graduation regalia, jewelry and yearbooks, and motivation and recognition tools and resources; cheerleading, and dance activities, with subsidiary units and programs that regulate and administer most organized collegiate cheerleading and dance activities within the United States [1]. Involvement in cheerleading and dance activities includes its ownership of subsidiaries and programs that conduct competitions and camps. Notably, the breadth of influence Varsity Brands Inc. possesses over cheerleading and dance activities has led to discussion of potential conflicts of interest including its interests related to the issue of the classification of competitive cheerleading as a sport in the United States.[2][3]

Varsity Brands Inc. is based in Farmers Branch, Texas, and is made up of three companies: Varsity Spirit, which sells uniforms, hosts competitions, and runs instructional cheerleading and dance camps; Herff Jones, which is a provider of graduation and educations products such as class rings, jewelry, caps and gowns, yearbooks and recognition products; and BSN Sports, a distributor of sports uniforms and equipment.[4]

Varsity Brands made news in 2014 when it began negotiations to be acquired by Charlesbank Capital Partners, a private equity group.[5] and again in 2018, when it was announced that Bain Capital Private Equity would be acquiring the company [6]

Adam Blumenfeld, who served as CEO of BSN Sports since 2007, was named CEO of Varsity Brands in 2017 [7].

Varsity Brands has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as part of their “Team Up for St. Jude, Spirited by Varsity” campaign, and has raised $5 million to date. They have provided caps, gowns and achievement products for the St. Jude School Program by Chili’s, implemented a fundraising letter campaign at summer camps, donated a percentage of sales of select items, coordinated pep rallies and volunteer events, and participated in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer and the St. Jude Memphis Marathon [8].

Potential conflicts of interest[edit]

While holding an interest in the business of cheerleading apparel, Varsity Brands Inc. owns subsidiaries and programs:

  • Responsible for conducting national cheerleading competitions, where scoring systems are intertwined with promotion of Varsity Brand's products. A recent court decision provides an example: "During the “spirit” portion of the competition, cheerleading teams are awarded points for using props, such as pom poms, sold by Varsity Brands; the more props a team uses, the more points that team receives".[2]
  • Overseeing and certifying practitioners responsible for safety in cheerleading activities.[3]
  • Institutionalizing high financial costs for participation in forms of competitive cheerleading.[3][9]

These conflicts of interest were a main focus of Season 8, episode 1 of Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

Programs and subsidiaries[edit]

Programs and subsidiaries of Varsity Brands Inc. include:

  • American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA)[3][10]
    • Conducts cheerleading safety education and risk management.
  • National Council for Spirit Safety & Education (NCFSSE)[3]
    • Provides safety training and certification programs.
  • American Cheerleader Magazine[11]
  • National Cheerleaders Association (NCA)[2][3]
  • Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA)[2][3]
  • United Spirit Association (USA)[2][3]
  • Universal Dance Association (UDA)[3]
  • National Dance Alliance (NDA)[3]
  • American Cheer Power (ACP)[3]
  • American Cheerleaders Association (ACA)[3]
  • World Spirit Federation (WSF)[3]
  • Spirit Sports (SS)[3]
  • All Star Challenge (ASC)[3]
  • V!ROC – Choreography (VROC)[3]
  • U.S. All Star Federation (USASF)[3]
  • Pac West (PW)[3]
  • Spirit Cheer (SC)[3]
  • Spirit Xpress Cheerleading (SXC)[3]
  • The American Championships (TAC)[3]
  • Athletic Championships (AC)[3]
  • Varsity Spirit Fashion (VSF)[3]
  • Ozone (O)[3]

America’s Most Spirited High School Contest[edit]

In 2015, Varsity Brands created the America’s Most Spirited High School Contest. High schools from 33 states were represented in the inaugural contest. In September 2015, Vista Murietta High School in California was announced as the winner. The school received $25,000 from Varsity Brands.[12]

Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards[edit]

In 2016, Varsity Brands launched the Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards. The awards include sixteen different categories. Each winner received prize money, adding up to $25,000 in awards from Varsity Brands.[13] Today, there are 25 categories and $100,000 distributed among the winning students, schools and staff. [14] Laurie Hernandez and Richard Curtis hosted the Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards in 2017 and 2018 [15]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e Biediger, et al., v. Quinnipiac Univ., pp. 31-32
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Penn and Teller, "Bullshit: Cheerleading" Season 8, Episode 1 Archived 2010-07-01 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Rebranding Spreads Varsity Name Around
  5. ^ <<Wall Street Journal,>>
  6. ^
  7. ^ url=
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Cheerleading may not be a sport, but it is an industry"
  10. ^ Varsity Sports
  11. ^ American Cheerleader Sold to Varsity Spirit Corp.
  12. ^ "Vista Murrieta High School Named Most Spirited School in the United States". 3 November 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Varsity Brands Honors Schools, Groups And Individuals Promoting Outstanding Student Engagement And Community Spirit With School Spirit Awards". TheStreet. 11 February 2011.
  14. ^ "Varsity Brands Announce Finalists in 2018 School Spirit Awards". SGB Media. 12 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez Still Shining Bright". Portada. 13 April 2018.

External links[edit]