September 16, 2014

Sports Business

Winning Teams

Florida universities consistently place high in merchandise sales.

Art Levy | 2/1/2007

A great year for the Gators and school merchandise sales.
[Photo: Ray Carson - UF News Bureau]

The University of Florida's twin national championships in basketball and football will only enhance the school's dominance of licensed memorabilia sales among state schools.

Annual sales for college-themed merchandise -- everything from T-shirts to dog collars and pool cues -- total $2.9 billion, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. For most products, schools earn 8.5% of the wholesale cost. Additionally, schools can earn 15% for championship or bowl game merchandise. For the 2005-06 fiscal year, UF's cut amounted to some $3.2 million, which doesn't include the football team's national championship, says Debbie Gay, UF's licensing manager.

The heady year on the court and field means UF's 2006-07 fiscal year numbers should be even higher. But while winning typically boosts sales, statistics compiled by the Collegiate Licensing Co. show that all of the state's major schools sell well, even when the teams aren't winning national titles. From 2000 to 2006, for example, the Gators have never fallen below ninth in national sales rankings. Sales of Florida State and University of Miami gear have trailed slightly but have always been in the top 20. "Schools like UF, FSU and UM have a national following," says Derek Hughes, a spokesman for Collegiate Licensing, the nation's largest collegiate trademark company. "Those schools generate a lot of passion."

Hughes notes that two other Florida schools -- the University of South Florida and the University of Central Florida -- are rising in national sales rankings thanks to growing football programs: "They're both top-70 schools, which is pretty impressive considering they really haven't been in the licensing game that long."

Retailers all over Florida are happy in any event. "We can't even answer our phones we're so busy," says Maggie Sloat, who, along with her husband, Harold, owns Gator Haven in St. Petersburg.
At Bill's Bookstore in Tallahassee, there's next year. "We had a slight drop-off, and you can probably attribute that to us not winning the ACC like we usually do," says Eric Nelson, the bookstore's marketing manager and merchandise buyer. "But, next year, if the team turns it around, we'll be on top again."

Tags: Around Florida

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

SpaceX's Elon Musk really wants to colonize Mars
SpaceX's Elon Musk really wants to colonize Mars

If it wasn’t already apparent that SpaceX CEO and Telsa co-founder Elon Musk is one of today's more ambitious visionaries, let's remember: he wants to build a city on Mars.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

This week, there could be the largest IPO in global financial history when internet giant Alibaba debuts on the NYSE. Will you bite?

  • Ali-who?
  • I am thinking about it
  • Yes, looking forward to it
  • No, not interested

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe