The Collegiate Licensing Co. — are we allowed to type their name? — just released its yearly Top 25 list of the 200 schools it has under contract which sell the most merchandise. That trailer hitch you bought with the tiger eyes? It’s on there. That sweet Under Armour jersey you bought, but don’t wear out of the house (cause that’s become pas très raffiné)? Yep, it’s counted. The faux vintage shirt Maxim decided clung better to British TV news sensation Caroline Flack than any other? Bang on target!
Auburn fans bring the Tigers in at a respectable 15, but they usually float in that 8-15 range every year:
5. North Carolina
9. Penn State
11. Notre Dame
13. West Virginia
19. Florida State
21. Texas A&M
23. South Carolina
24. Texas Tech
At first glance, the list seems normal; teams are ranked about where you’d think they would be based on prestige and size of fan base.
But what some people don’t realize is that a lot of non-fans will buy team merchandise (mainly hats) based solely on aesthetics rather than affiliation (or at least an affiliation beyond preference for certain colors and logos). I used to work in a hat store and people would come in, match the Auburn blue with a sweater they just bought, and if it didn’t work they would buy a Michigan hat instead. And North Carolina will almost always be in the Top 5 because people just love that blue.
Sure, on the field results and size of fan base is responsible for a huge chunk of that money; Bama moved from No. 5 to No. 2 on the list by beating No. 1-for-five-years-in-a-row Texas and winning the national title. But if you don’t think that simple fashion sense can significantly effect the rankings, just look at the two big names missing: Ohio State can’t overcome their passé colors and incredibly boring logo, and Southern Cal can’t overcome the fact their colors make people look like they work at McDonalds.
[Ed. note — all this merchandise talk has me thinking about how bangin’ it’s going to be to rock Jordan-Hare this season in one of these Wear Eagle originals, like the hot new “I Think, therefore War Eagle”… (which you can order here)…
… or the classic, and totally appropriate-for-a-convo-on-collegiate-merchandising, “I’m wearing my Auburn shirt because I went to Auburn. You’re wearing that Bama shirt because you went to Walmart,” which you can order here…