Beaver and Duck gear: 'You can never have enough'

Beaver and Duck gear: 'You can never have enough'

ALBANY, Ore. (AP) — Kalli Sherer wore an Oregon State University sweatshirt, T-shirt and scarf, along with orange beads, but that didn't stop the 17-year-old from shopping for new gear at the OSU Beaver Store before Saturday's Civil War game.

The Tillamook High School senior, who plans on attending OSU, even knew she was getting Beaver clothing for Christmas — just like every year.

"You can never have enough," said Sherer, as she browsed through the racks with her sisters.

Chad Clausen, 26, of Modesto, Calif., was shopping nearby, and the Beaver alumnus said he owned a dozen items of OSU clothing. "That's probably about average," he said.

Every football game day, Reser Stadium turns into a sea of black and orange and Benny Beaver logos, though there was green and yellow speckled in on Saturday as Oregon came to town and left with a 48-24 win.

And every OSU item sold means dollars for businesses and the university.

Last year, Beaver gear accounted for $25 million of retail sales, and that brought in $1.24 million in licensing revenue to the school, said Steve Clark, vice president of university relations and marketing.

That's nearly $1 million more in royalties compared to 10 years prior, according to university data.

"There is more fan attire than in years past. Certainly, the success of our athletic programs contribute to the success of the merchandise," Clark said.

Licensing proceeds are reinvested in the athletic department and university communications, Clark said. Television commercials aired on the Pac-12 Network, for example, were produced with those funds.

Data on merchandise sales and licensing royalties weren't available from the University of Oregon this week, but a university official confirmed that there has been an increase.

"It's gotten pretty busy in the last 10 years," said Nita Nickell, assistant director of marketing and brand management.

Clark said the hike in royalties is a nationwide trend and comes partly because OSU and other schools have been increasing their licensing efforts.

In 2005, OSU began a relationship with Collegiate Licensing Company, and merchandising royalties surged afterward, said Carson Dunlap, university trademark licensing manager.

Collegiate Licensing Company handles licensing agreements for nearly 200 universities, bowls and other properties. That includes all Pac-12 schools except the University of Oregon and the University of Southern California, which deal with licensing in-house.

The retail market for college licensed merchandise in 2011 was estimated at $4.6 billion, according to CLC. That's up from $4.3 billion in 2010.

Collegiate gear is second only to Major League Baseball in total sales of licensed sports items, according to CLC.

Dunlap said the agency has relationships with large apparel companies, other vendors and department stores and serves as an advocate for the university.

Oregon State received a sharp increase in royalties in 2007-2008 thanks in part to back-to-back baseball national championships and the release of the new "OS" logo, Dunlap said.

In 2011, there also was a sizeable jump, Dunlap added, as the number of stores carrying Oregon State gear expanded at Walmart, Old Navy and Target locations.

Currently, there are 368 companies that license Oregon State gear, and thousands of products. The university collects 10 percent of each item's wholesale price.

For example, with a $20 T-shirt that would wholesale for $10, Oregon State would receive $1.

The University of Oregon has a similar 10 percent arrangement, except on Donald Duck mascot items, where a 12 percent rate is split with Disney, Nickell said.

There's a lot more to licensing than just T-shirts and other apparel, however.

"(OSU) just licensed a company that makes caskets, headstones and urns," Dunlap said. "We do get some interesting ones."

He reviews the licensing applications at OSU.

"Each application or product is evaluated on a case by case basis, and we make sure the product is in good taste and represents the university well," Dunlap said.

Guns, knives and weapons-related products won't get approved at either university, nor will alcoholic beverages. Logos have been allowed on pint glasses or wine glasses, however.

On home game days, both universities patrol to spot counterfeit gear. The University of Oregon planned to scout around Corvallis for unlicensed Duck items on Saturday as well, Nickell said.

"T-shirts are the most common item that's counterfeited," she said.

And with the Duck program's success, there's been more unapproved gear, including those being sold online, which is more difficult to monitor, Nickell added.

Nickell and Dunlap said that many people don't know they're doing anything illegal by creating an unlicensed product.

"It's an educational opportunity," Dunlap said.

If unlicensed gear is seized or surrendered, it gets donated to charity, or destroyed if it's in bad taste.

In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, for example, Oregon State sent Beaver knockoff products to the island nation.

The bigger the game, the more counterfeit activity there is, Dunlap said. But that also translates into legitimate opportunities.

Jay and Stephanie Norris of Seattle bought commemorative Civil War T-shirts from an OSU clothing trailer just outside Reser Stadium. The married couple said it's important that everyone knows what team they were rooting for.

"Especially here in Corvallis," said Jay Norris, wearing green and yellow like his wife.

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Information from: Albany Democrat-Herald, http://www.dhonline.com

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press