Penn State has tumbled down a list that ranks the highest royalty-generating universities in the country through licensed merchandise sales.
Penn State dropped from No. 12 last year to No. 19 this year on the list released this week by the Collegiate Licensing Co., falling between Auburn University and the University of Missouri. The fall doesn’t come as a shock to officials at the university, which has been mired in negative publicity from the Jerry Sandusky scandal and sanctions from the NCAA.
“It would be impossible for a university — or any organization — to experience the unprecedented events that Penn State has been through and not expect some decline in sales,” Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.
The rankings were compiled from university-reported figures from July 1, 2012, through June 30 on all collegiate merchandise licensed through Collegiate Licensing Co. The University of Texas at Austin topped the list for the eighth straight year. Football powerhouses Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan, LSU, Georgia and Florida were all in the top 10.
The company estimates the the market for licensed merchandise is worth some $4.62 billion. The amount of royalties Penn State received over the 2012-2013 fiscal year was not available.
Sales of Penn State licensed merchandise declined at downtown retailer Family Clothesline, said Caroline Gummo, the store’s advertising manager.
“All in all, it’s definitely safe to say we saw effects of the Sandusky scandal,” Gummo said.
A big hit was from lost sales from bowl game merchandise, as the university is barred from postseason play as part of the NCAA sanctions, Gummo said.
Powers said retailers were cautious about the quantity of merchandise they ordered last fall for the start of the football season. She said retailers saw sales improve as the season went on and Penn State finished 8-4.
There’s also a chance the university lost royalty revenues because the popular apparel with the “Billieve” and “O’Brien’s Lions” themes, for head coach Bill O’Brien, were not subject to licensing, Powers said.
Penn State was No. 8 on the list in 2009, and No. 10 in 2010 and 2011.