Local Retailers Cashing In On Run To Sweet 16 For Cinderellas Like Wichita, La Salle, FGCU
As Wichita State and Kansas are prepping for their Sweet 16 matchups in the NCAA Tournament, fans are "looking to don their team’s colors in support, and local retailers are responding to the demand," according to Kelsey Ryan of the WICHITA EAGLE. Wichita-based Tad's Locker Room Owner Tad Snarenberger said that his store has "sold 20 boxes -- 100 shirts a box -- just of Wichita State Sweet 16 shirts." He said that the first shipment came in Sunday, while "another arrived Monday, and two more orders" were scheduled to come yesterday. Snarenberger said that the excitement "seems even greater than in 2006, when WSU last made it to the Sweet 16." Wichita-based Kansas Sampler Rally House Manager Jordan Best-Grim said that the store has "seen a 15 percent increase in sales for WSU gear." Meanwhile, KU sales "have been steady, but without any big spurt." Best-Grim: "KU fans are pretty used to the Sweet 16, and they usually wait until the Elite Eight or Final Four (to buy merchandise)." WSU bookstore Assistant Dir Andi Stipp said that the store "sold out of some sizes of the Sweet 16 shirts and reordered more ... and they had hundreds of sales in store on Monday, in addition to online" (WICHITA EAGLE, 3/26). Meanwhile, La Salle is making its first Sweet 16 appearance since '55, and in Philadelphia, Jad Sleiman notes the first batch of Sweet 16 shirts "were hung up on racks at the La Salle campus store at about noon" yesterday. They were "gone in less than half an hour" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/27).
COASTING THROUGH: In Tampa, Stephanie Hayes in a front-page piece notes the Florida Gulf Coast Univ. bookstore reported sales this month have totaled $34,034 for women's apparel and $114,870 for men's apparel. That is in sharp contrast to March '12, when the store was "selling $5,483 worth of women's FGCU hats and clothes, and $14,624 for men" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 3/27). In Ft. Myers, Dave Breitenstein in a front-page piece notes ESPN, CBS and CNN are "among national broadcasters that have camped out this week at Alico Arena." "SportsCenter" on Monday went live from a campus pep rally, while CBS' David Letterman "even mentioned FGCU in his monologue." FGCU coaches and administrators have "granted interviews to multiple outlets in Florida, but also the likes" of the Wall Street Journal, AP, Forbes, Inside Edition, N.Y. Post, MSN Money, SI, TBS and TNT. FGCU AD Ken Kavanagh said, "I didn’t think ‘Outside the Lines’ would ever care what Ken Kavanagh had to say." The campus bookstore has been "jam-packed since Saturday morning, and web traffic Monday shattered the previous record, which had just been set Sunday." FGCU G Brett Comer said that he "saw a Kia advertisement featuring FGCU." Nike ads "also have sprung up" (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 3/27). In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes under the header, "FGCU Is The Nation's Hottest Sports Story" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/27). Dolphins WR Brian Hartline, an Ohio State alum, yesterday tweeted out a picture of his order of FGCU merch from Fanatics.com (TWITTER.com, 3/26).