COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State University is cashing in after the Buckeyes' victory in the NCAA's championship football game.
The university expects a $3 million increase this year in royalties from licensed merchandise sales as fans continue to buy national championship gear and keepsakes, The Columbus Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/1CST3ot ). Officials anticipate about $17 million in total royalty revenue for the year.
Retailers say the team's story has helped boost sales. The Buckeyes, who defied naysayers in their 42-20 victory over the University of Oregon, earned the final playoff spot after losing two starting quarterbacks to injuries.
"People were energized long before the game, and people are still coming through the door," said Lori Leavitt Watson, vice president of a flag store in Columbus.
The fact that Ohio State hadn't won a championship in more than a decade has also helped increase sales, said Rick Van Brimmer, an assistant vice president for the school's trademark and licensing operations. When the Buckeyes beat the University of Miami for the title in 2002, royalties doubled from the previous year, bringing in about $5 million in total revenue.
More than half of the money that comes into the school's licensing office goes to academic affairs. The athletics department, alumni association and student life program then each receive 15 percent.
The boost in sales is bigger than sports, Brimmer said.
"It transcends athletics and helps us tell the overall Ohio State story," he said. "The world's eyes were on us for an incredible run to the championship, but we stay on their minds for a much longer time."