brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 24, 2011 11:06 AM
With the winter holidays coming fast, Penn State fans can usually expect to get a random new piece of gear with a Nittany Lions logo on it (a 32-quarter inflatable beach cooler, maybe?) or at least a new PSU sweatshirt or T-shirt.
However, thanks to the heinous child-molestation charges against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, people are keeping their PSU merchandise in their bureaus these days and sales of PSU-related sports gear is down 40%, according to CNN.com. It's a sad Penn State of affairs, indeed, for the once-proud Lions and Penn supporters.
“Winning is the ultimate driver of team sales,” said Brian Swallow, vice president of business development at Fanatics LLC, a sports merchandiser, CNN reports.
“I think that while it’s the last thing on anyone’s mind right now as we’re all concerned about the victims (of the child sex scandal) and their families, Penn State merchandise sales will rebound as soon as the university has a clearly communicated direction and its alumni and fans are ready to move past this terrible situation.”
And the sales aren’t just going down in the shirts and jerseys department. Swallow told CNN that the drop-off is across all categories.
That means a serious chunk of change has been lost for PSU, which pulls in about $80 million annually on its gear, according to Matt Powell, an analyst with SportsOneSource, a sports research organization, CNN reports.
Sometimes the team’s fan base can help make up for the loss of sales during a scandal by rallying around the program and buying more gear, Powell told CNN, but that’s not happening this time around: “This is the first time I’ve seen that,” he said.