Thursday, February 04, 2010

What To Do With Championship Loser Gear

As most of you know, I come up with a lot of really cockamamie ideas -- most of the time, they have at least some tangential relationship to business, because that's the way I convince myself that I'm putting my MBA to good use.

Earlier today, I saw this tweet from CNBC's Darren Rovell that referenced some news that the NCAA and the apparel-maker from the national title game are going to send $300,000 worth of "University of Texas 2009 College Football National Championship" gear to Haiti.

No, they're not sending $300,00 -- they're sending the T-shirts. Now, I'm sure the T-shirts can help. When championship games are over, the losing team's pre-printed "Champions!" gear is either destroyed or shipped across the world to developing countries.

Here's the thing: I can't possibly be alone in considering that gear the Holy Grail of sports memorabilia. Partly, because it's this amazing "What coulda/shoulda/woulda been" for your team, but mostly because you can NEVER find it. Not on eBay. Nowhere. It has to be the most locked-down product in the world -- it makes Apple pre-launch secrecy look porous.

So my initial reaction was that some enterprising relief worker should grab 100 of the shirts, take them back to Texas, sell them for $100 each to desperate, crazy Texas fans and bring back $10,000 to help the relief effort.

Then, in writing this idea out to Rovell in an email, I realized that this is a pain in the ass for the relief worker. What should really happen is that the NCAA (or NFL or MLB or NBA) should make the gear available for limited time sale at some price commensurate with its scarcity and "Holy Grail" value -- say, $100 per shirt, with only a limited batch available. Then the NCAA can give that cash directly to the relief efforts.

I called it the "You Lost, They Win" campaign, which I think is kind of catchy.

Anyway, to the point of the the post it turned into for Darren: When the Super Bowl is over, the NFL should sell the "Champions!" gear of the losing team and send all the proceeds to Haiti. It's better than shipping them the shirts -- and it sure is better than simply destroying them.

In my ideal world, the NFL -- and all the other leagues -- makes an entire line of these (down to the retro logo of that particular year's championship event), because most fans have lost a championship game or series at one time or another, and the chance to own a piece of the alternate history would be a huge appeal for many fans.

And it would create a lot of money for relief efforts in Haiti. Isn't that the point? Donating the shirts is nice -- sending cash is better.

Thoughts on that? Yes, I know the leagues would never agree to it -- although the notion that it's for Haiti relief rather than to line the pockets of a T-shirt entrepreneur should help. And if thousands of fans are wearing team gear, isn't that good for the leagues' marketing efforts? Who cares if it says "Seattle Seahawks: Super Bowl XL Champions" -- everyone wins, literally.

-- D.S.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I wish they would "Losers" t-shirts as well (a la the beginning of Baseketball).

By the way, "You Lose, They Win" is beyond catchy. That's the kind of motto ad folks get paid big for.

DVG said...

You realize there are *thousands* of kids in Africa still wearing four years' worth of Buffalo Bills Super Bowl Champions t-shirts, right?

PiccottFence said...

Strange thought just came into my head: Years and YEARS ago (1991-1992?) I bought a T-shirt at a Flea Market. "Florida Marlins"...also with "American League" on it. Makes me want to go back to the parents house and see what else is in those old dressers...

Anyway, as Taboo as it is, why not sell the Gear pre-game, with the catch that all money collected from the Losers gear goes to Charity. Fans LOVE being the ones with the Newspapers or Champs gear AFTER the game...why not see who has the jacobs to wear it to the Tailgate!