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Sales of UC-Branded Merchandise Continue to Break Records

Despite a variety of challenges in the retail market, Bearcats fans are contributing to the highest amount of licensing income in UC’s history.

Date: 8/13/2014 11:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover

UC ingot   Go Bearcats! The University of Cincinnati licensing program hit an all-time record in gross royalties over the 2013-14 fiscal year, generating $863,861.
Scene from Homecoming 2012

Nationally, the estimated sales of collegiate-branded merchandise totaled $4.59 billion for 2013-14 – an average 2 percent decrease in income compared with the previous fiscal year – according to the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC).

UC’s earned licensing income was up around 1 percent over 2012-13, which was the first time UC saw sales cross over $800,000 ($859,458 was reported at this time last year). At that time, UC outperformed the general industry by about 6 percent.

“We’re investing more time in managing our brand to achieve better market penetration, and increasing visibility with better placement of products with retailers,” says Marty Ludwig, director of Trademarks and Licensing for UC. “I think the news continues to show the strength of our brand, and it validates the discipline we’re taking in positioning our brand in the market by working with key partners, retailers and licensees.” Ludwig says that includes taking a more aggressive approach to managing product categories for merchandise in the mid-tier distribution channel with retailers like Macy’s, Dillard’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and RallyHouse.

Ludwig says UC’s single-largest retailer is UC Bookstores on campus, followed by DuBois Book Store, Kansas Sampler (part of the RallyHouse chain), Meijer and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Scene from Homecoming 2012

UC’s sales ranked 46th out of the CLC’s consortium of 160 colleges, universities, conferences and bowls, and finished first compared with schools in the American Athletic Conference. UC was also ahead of big-name schools including Georgia Tech University (50), University of Pittsburgh (51), Rutgers University (53), Boston College (55), Vanderbilt University (56) and Northwestern University (59).

Top sales in the largest single product category were:
  • Men’s unisex T-shirtsMen’s unisex fleece
  • Women’s t-shirts
  • Men’s fashion apparel
  • Men’s unisex performance apparel
Top non-apparel categories included:
  • Electronic Arts Sports video games
  • Housewares
  • General gifts and novelty items
  • School supplies
  • Personal accessories
UC’s top-five licensees were:
  • adidas apparel
  • Knights apparel
  • EA Sports
  • Gear for Sports apparel
  • Top of the World (a headwear company)
A Look at UC’s Growth in Trademark Merchandise

2013-14 – $863,861
2012-13 – $859,458
2011-12 – $768,839
2010-11 – $749,062
2009-2010 – $782,000

UC Bookstores