UT Merchandise Royalties Set Record

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Sales of merchandise — ranging from Moon Pies to Waterford crystal footballs — bearing University of Tennessee logos brought nearly $4 million in royalties to UT last year.

Spurred by the Vols’ national football championship, the total is almost double the $2 million received in the 1997-98 fiscal year, Sara Phillips, UT assistant vice president and director of licensing, said.

Licensing proceeds go to academic scholarships, the Pride of the Southland Band and other student projects, she said.

“Every time fans of UT sports programs purchase a licensed product, they help students as well as demonstrate their support of the team,” Phillips said. “We appreciate that support and that of the businesses and firms that participate in our licensing program.”

Collegiate Licensing Corp., founded by former UT football coach Bill Battle, represents most universities’ licensing programs. The university and the Atlanta-based firm developed a national champions’ licensing program last fall in the event the Vols won the Fiesta Bowl.

To date, more than $1.8 million in royalties have come from football championship merchandise sales, exceeding any previous national championship licensing effort, Phillips said.

A total of 161 companies were licensed to produce UT national championship merchandise, Phillips said. UT receives 12 percent in royalties and the Fiesta Bowl 3 percent. The royalty rate on non-championship items was 7.5 percent, but recently was raised to 8 percent.

CLC officials report the orange-hued Moon Pies sell out minutes after they are put on the shelf. UT also has a program with NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin that features a UT-theme car that commemorates the national football champions.

Pro Player, a national sports apparel firm, reported royalties of more than $350,000 from the sale of UT national championship items. The company, which produces much of the NFL and NBA caps and clothing, will run a national television advertisement featuring UT this fall.

In addition to providing licensing support and collecting royalties for UT, CLC helps its university clients keep counterfeit, unlicensed products off the market.

Phillips said because of the popularity of UT national championship items, enforcement will be stepped up this fall.

Companies or individuals interested in producing and selling university licensed products should call Brian Beardsley at UT, 423-974-1444.