Pride in XXL
It's homecoming season, when wood smoke scents the air and thoughts turn to old friends, happy days and ... hoodies? That's right.
It's homecoming season, when wood smoke scents the air and thoughts turn to old friends, happy days and ... hoodies?
That's right. Hoodies - also known as hooded sweatshirts - outsell everything else at college bookstores in the area, especially at homecoming.
"I'm out of breath," said Mary Sivertson, clothing and novelty buyer for the NDSU Bookstore, which has had trouble this week keeping logo-emblazoned sweatshirts and T-shirts on the shelves in advance of Saturday's big homecoming game.
"They are going out of here continually," Sivertson said, adding that horned, furry Bison hats have also started an out migration, especially since NDSU is 4-0 so far this football season.
Division I boost
Merchandise sales might be considered a barometer of sorts for how NDSU's been doing since starting a Division I competition schedule in fall 2004.
That school year, revenue from the sale of licensed merchandise totaled $48,370, up from $35,598 in 2001-2002.
Last year's revenue topped $76,000.
"Anytime we can double our revenue and continue to grow year in and year out is really a positive thing for us," said Gene Taylor, NDSU athletic director, whose department receives the revenue.
"I do see it in direct correlation with our move to Division I," Taylor said of the growth in merchandise sales, adding that NDSU's relationship with the Scheels chain of sporting goods stores also contributed to the increase.
Minnesota State University Moorhead, which held its homecoming last week, also sees a boost in merchandise sales this time of year.
"Looking at a normal sales week vs. a homecoming week, our sales are probably 20 to 30 percent (higher) over a normal week," said Kim Samson, director of the MSUM Bookstore.
That's good for students because part of the store's profits go to students via rebates.
Each spring, students get back 8 percent to 10 percent of what they paid for required course materials, such as books and art kits, Samson said.
Like NDSU and Concordia College, MSUM receives money from the sale of trademarked items through a deal with a licensing company, which handles most of the paperwork and interaction with various vendors.
At MSUM, the money generated by the sale of licensed items goes to the MSUM Foundation, with a large share devoted to scholarships and other things the foundation funds, said Betty Gunderson, MSUM's director of alumni relations.
The university receives checks and reports from its licensing company on a regular basis and Gunderson is sometimes surprised to see where merchandise carrying the MSUM logo is selling.
"They love that little dragon. There's a store south of the Twin Cities and they sell a huge volume," Gunderson said.
Fargo Public Schools receives about $6,000 a year from licensed merchandise.
The money goes into the district's activities budget, said Ed Lockwood, activities director.
"We use it to help supplement our expenses across the board," Lockwood said.
Not all schools trademark themselves.
The Moorhead School District has talked about licensing merchandise, but so far has stayed on the sidelines, said Don Hulbert, the district's activities director.
While imprinted items such as sweatshirts and shorts are hot sellers at the Concordia College Bookstore, foam hats shaped like corncobs are also popular, said P.J. Hines, an assistant manager and the clothing and gift buyer for the store.
"It doesn't say Concordia anywhere on it, but people have a lot of fun with it," Hines said of the hat likely to crop up at this weekend's homecoming football game.
Hines said the store's Web page has had big success selling licensed merchandise.
"We're always excited to see alumni and prospective students purchasing things from all over the United States," she said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555 Pride in XXL Dave Olson 20071005