SBD/December 12, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Penn State Announces It Will No Longer License Paterno's Name, Image

Paterno will still be able to license his name himself, but cannot associate it with PSU
Penn State Univ. said that it "will no longer license" former football coach Joe Paterno's name or image, "giving manufacturers 60 days to make as much memorabilia as they can before closing up shop," according to Andrew McGill of the Allentown MORNING CALL. Retail stores are "allowed to sell JoePa merchandise until their stock runs out." Store owners said that they have been "told Paterno will still be able to license his name himself, but he can't associate it with Penn State." The announcement, "delivered in a letter Nov. 28, has retailers scrambling to grab as much as they can before the deadline." Penn State's Student Book Store GM John Lindo said, "We will probably get more of the things and build up a stock. For sales, it's not a huge number usually, but in the last couple of weeks it's been significant." A Quinnipiac Univ. poll out Friday "shows Paterno remains popular among many Pennsylvanians, although most agree with the school's recent decision to fire him." Fifty-two percent of those surveyed "supported Paterno's dismissal and 43 percent opposed the move." But 44% still have a "favorable opinion of Paterno." More people, "74 percent, said they approved" of PSU President Graham Spanier's departure, and 13% disapproved. The poll was "taken Nov. 28-Dec. 5 on land lines and cellphones of 1,453 registered voters." It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6% (Allentown MORNING CALL, 12/9). A PSU spokesperson "sent notices this week to licensees that Paterno's daughter, Mary Kay Hort, will now handle the licensing program for JVP Properties" (, 12/10). USA TODAY's Jon Saraceno noted PSU and Paterno "had an unspecified deal dividing proceeds from sales." At the Student Book Store, overall sales of PSU merchandise is "down about 15% since the last home game Nov. 12 against Nebraska," but Lindo said, "There has been a rush on Paterno stuff." Among the "best 'JoePa' sellers: a ceramic hand-made coffee mug ($35), cardboard stand-up ($42.99) and look-a-like masks ($9.99)" (USA TODAY, 12/10).
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