SBJ/January 9 - 15, 2006/Marketingsponsorship

Longhorn fans clear out shelves of title apparel

With 26 seconds left in last week’s Rose Bowl, University of Texas quarterback Vince Young waltzed into the end zone to win college football’s national championship and seal his superhero status with Longhorns fans.

Seconds later, as the game clock struck zero, the first fan rushed through the doors of the University Co-op store on Guadalupe Street in Austin, Texas, to buy some of the night’s first available Longhorns national championship gear. “[That fan] must have been listening to the radio outside,” said University Co-op CEO George Mitchell.

The 72-year-old Mitchell, who’s been in the retail business for 50 years, said he’s “never seen anything like this.” The Co-op sold out of its first 1,800 preprinted championship T-shirts soon after the game and waited two hours for newly printed shirts to arrive on trucks from Austin Screen Printers.

Mitchell estimated that the Co-op sold 5,000 shirts and 1,800 caps the night of the game. He hopes to sell 50,000 shirts.

At about $20 for a shirt and $24 for a hat, the store’s goal is to sell $4 million worth of national championship garb, Mitchell said. Sales had reached $1 million on Thursday.

The story was similar at the Academy Sports & Outdoors store in North Austin. The store had sold out of merchandise by 3 a.m. the morning after the game, said Jim Mastrianni, the store’s apparel manager.

Longhorns apparel generated the most royalties of any of the 200-plus schools affiliated with the Collegiate Licensing Co. in the third quarter of 2005.

Jonathan Selden writes for the Austin Business Journal, an affiliated publication.

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