SBD/March 14, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

March Madness Means Boost In Merchandise, Licensing Deals For Participating Schools

VCU saw royalties jump 219% after last year's Final Four appearance
A spot in the NCAA men's basketball tournament can be a “huge boost for less-fancied schools,” as the “increasingly professional approach of athletic departments means a bump in merchandising royalties and licensing deals,” according to Sam Mamudi of MARKET WATCH. VCU “saw its royalties jump 219% after last year’s March Madness, when the 11th-seeded team reached the Final Four.” Royalty income during the fiscal quarter following the tournament “was larger than any full year in the college’s history.” IMG College found that VCU’s number of licensees “has risen to 163 today, from 126 before last year’s tournament run.” Robert Morris Univ. made the NCAA tournament in ‘09 and ‘10, losing in the first round both times. However, Pittsburgh-based Crons CEO Pat Cavanaugh, whose company is the apparel provider for the school, said that “despite the early defeats, the school’s merchandise sales jumped as much as 50% during March Madness.” Mamudi notes top sellers are “usually items such as fleeces, T-shirts and pants.” Crons this year has one team in the tournament, UNC-Asheville, and it is “launching a new design” today for the team to wear during the tournament. Last year was only the second time UNC-Asheville had made the tournament, and Cavanaugh said that merchandise sales “doubled this year … though that was also due to a new arena and on-site store” (, 3/14).

BIG JUMP IN APPAREL SALES: In Dallas, Steven Thompson reports collegiate apparel sales “increased 10 percent in the past two years.” Atlanta-based CLC Senior VP & Managing Dir Cory Moss said, “The fashion of college product has been on the rise recently.” CLC represents “around 80 percent of the market for sales of college products.” The company estimates that the total retail market for college-licensed merchandise “is about $4.3 billion, compared with $3.9 billion in 2010” (DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/9 issue).
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