Indeed, while the on-the-field product for football has regressed to "decidedly average with hope this season" and the on-the-court product for basketball has devolved to "just plain bad," one thing the University of Texas does really well -- TWO things, actually -- is cash checks from the Longhorn Network and sell T-shirts.
Sure, they may struggle to a December 28 bowl again this season and get knocked out in the first round of some acronym basketball tournament we've never heard of in March, but those Longhorn sweatshirts, tin garbage cans and car window flags?
JUMPING off the shelves, bitches...
Longhorn trash talk out of the way, given recent events surrounding merchandise and memorabilia around the world of college sports, the latest information disclosed by Collegiate Licensing Company has some interesting tidbits.
First, let's take a look at the rankings.
Before doing so, it's important that you know two things -- one, the rankings represent royalties reported July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, on all collegiate merchandise sold on behalf of CLC-represented institutions. So it encompasses this past football season (Johnny Football!) and this past basketball season. Second, it includes all the major schools except Ohio State, Michigan State, University of Southern California and Oregon, who run their merchandising outside the specter of CLC.
So with that in mind, here are the top-20 school rankings for that time period. Full rankings are available on the CLC Web site:
Top-75 Universities (1.) The University of Texas at Austin (2.) The University of Alabama (3.) University of Notre Dame (4.) The University of Michigan (5.) University of Kentucky (6.) Louisiana State University (7.) University of Florida (8.) University of Georgia (9.) University of North Carolina (10.) The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (11.) The University of Oklahoma (12.) Texas A&M University (13.) University of Wisconsin (14.) University of Nebraska (15.) University of Tennessee (16.) University of South Carolina (17.) West Virginia University (18.) Auburn University (19.) The Pennsylvania State University (20.) University of Missouri
Other schools of interest: (25.) University of Louisville (26.) Texas Tech University (34.) Duke University (38.) Boise State University (46.) Texas Christian University (68.) Texas State University -- San Marcos (73.) Gonzaga University The most interesting tidbits from this information:
-- Let's start with the overall size of the market. CLC said that the retail marketplace for licensed merchandise is an estimated $4.62 billion (with a "b"). That's crazy. But apparently that's not enough to cover a few grand to Johnny Manziel for those #2 jerseys that are flying off the shelves in College Station and local merch and sporting goods stores throughout the state of Texas.
-- Speaking of the Aggies, they saw a monster jump in the rankings, ascending from 19th the year before to 12th this past year, largely on the strength of the football team's magical 11-2 season and the move to the SEC. I would imagine we may see a dip in sales of Aggie gear this coming year when Johnny Manziel drops the nukes on the autograph brokers that ratted him out by refusing to sign stuff for them.
-- The SEC is the king of college football and the king of merchandise royalties with 11 of the top 20 teams on the list, which speaks to the prominence of the league on a national landscape and how much fans of these schools love to
sleep in wear their school's gear. I don't know if there's any truth to the rumor that roughly half of the gear sold has found its way into crappy SEC music videos.
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-- Flip-flopping spots with the Aggies was Penn State, who dropped from 12th to 19th on the list, adding a few more millions to the total tab of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. When you combine lost revenue from bowls, lost merchandise royalties, the intrinsic hit to the school's brand and the hundreds of millions paid out in settlements, the total cost of the Jerry Sandusky hire comes to $3,451,809,004,516,999.
-- The University of Arkansas somehow found its way into the top 10 for the first time ever, despite a 4-8 season on the field. One can only assume that it was due to a) a plethora of Bobby Petrino/Jessica Dorrell Halloween costumes and/or b) lots of gear being burned in effigy after the team's crappy football season.
-- For nearly a decade now, EA Sports has been the top non-apparel licensee, on the strength of the popular NCAA football and basketball games. Now, with the NCAA removing their brand from the games starting next year, it will be interesting to see if EA Sports maintains ownership of that spot. It should be largely the same game with no NCAA brand label on it, but people are touchy sometimes. If you don't like it, blame Ed O'Bannon!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.