SBD/April 3, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Merchandise Flying Off The Shelves For Local Retailers In Final Four Schools' Markets

Louisville retailer The Neutral Zone sold 5,000 Final Four T-shirts yesterday
The Univ. of Louisville’s "second-straight Final Four appearance, coupled with its football team’s upset victory in the Sugar Bowl earlier this year, has propelled the school’s revenues from merchandise royalties to an estimated" $1.4-1.6M, according to a front-page piece by Chris Otts of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. UL Associate AD/External Affairs Brent Seebohm said that the figure "could go far higher" if the team wins the national championship Monday in Atlanta. UL's share of merchandise sales has "roughly doubled" since FY '06. The school's athletic success has "translated into good business the past couple of years for" Louisville-based Synergism, a company that supplies T-shirts, hoodies and other UL merchandise to retailers like Kroger. Synergism’s revenue jumped 30% "when Louisville and Kentucky played each other in the 2012 Final Four." Sales are up 25% "more so far this year" with the Sugar Bowl win and now the Final Four. Local retailer The Neutral Zone yesterday already had "worked through its initial shipment of 5,000 Final Four T-shirts" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 4/3).

SHOCK IT TO ME: In Wichita, Jeffrey Lutz noted business at local sporting goods store Tad's Locker Room "has been booming" during Wichita State's run through the NCAA Tournament. The shop received "three shipments of Final Four T-shirts on Monday." Tad's Locker Room employee Tessa Gehrer said, "We had to close the store for an hour in the middle of the day (Sunday) because we sold out of everything we had" (WICHITA EAGLE, 4/2). Also in Wichita, Molly McMillin in a front-page piece notes WSU's marketing office is "fielding nonstop media calls from across the country." WSU Associate VP/University Relations & CMO Barth Hague said, "We're being looked at from all over the world right now." He added, "The idea here is to make sure that we're taking advantage of this opportunity as people are watching us, that we can make sure that the Wichita State University message gets out here" (WICHITA EAGLE, 4/3).

CONNECT FOUR: In Michigan, WXMI-Fox' Tim Swore reported retailers in West Michigan are "struggling to meet the demand for" Univ. of Michigan Final Four gear. Kentwood-based MC Sports "sold out of items," while Woodland-based Campus Den "had a limited number of items" (FOX17ONLINE.com, 4/2). In Syracuse, Alex Dunbar noted retailer Holy Shirt "set up a temporary shop ... just to meet demand" from Syracuse Univ. fans. The store has been "working around the clock to produce the officially licensed" Final Four shirts (CNYCENTRAL.com, 4/1).
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