LSU fans flocked to sporting goods stores and online retailers starting late Monday night to buy merchandise to commemorate the Tigers’ national championship football season.
The 18 Academy Sports + Outdoors stores across Louisiana opened right after the Tigers defeated Clemson 42-25 in the national championship game late Monday, said John Byczek, a spokesman for the Texas-based chain. Some stores stayed open as late as 2 a.m. Tuesday so people could buy the licensed T-shirts and caps the Tigers were wearing during their victory celebrations. The stores then closed for a few hours before reopening later Tuesday morning.
“We’ve seen tremendous foot traffic across all Louisiana locations,” Byczek said. While he didn’t give specific numbers, he said sales were “very strong” and he expects the business to continue. “We’ll keep ordering product as long as there’s a demand for it,” he said.
Believe it, LSU fans! The Tigers are the 2020 College Football Playoff champions.
Fanatics, which runs the official LSU e-commerce store and operated a pop-up shop in New Orleans for the championship game, said Tuesday that sales for LSU merchandise are on track to set a record for the most championship gear sold for any college sport. The sales are running 25% ahead of the pace set by Ohio State when the Buckeyes won the championship game in 2015, said Seth Schlechter, a Fanatics spokesman.
Local fans said the strong sales of LSU merchandise were being driven by the fact that this year's team was so special. While LSU won championships in 2003 and 2007, this was the first undefeated championship team since 1958 going 15-0 while beating many of the top teams in the country. Many fans were proud of coach Ed Orgeron, a native of Lafourche Parish. Quarterback Joe Burrow rewrote the LSU record books and in the process became the school's second Heisman Trophy winner, given annually to the top college football player in the nation.
Linda Williams was at the Dick’s Sporting Goods by the Mall of Louisiana buying championship T-shirts for herself and her husband. Williams, who lives in Baton Rouge, said she was spending more this year on LSU merchandise, and it’s all because of Burrow. “You’ve got to do it for Joe,” she said.
Javier Nevarez, of Prairieville, who was also shopping at Dick’s, said he was going to spend “a few hundred bucks” on merchandise for himself and his brother, who lives in Puerto Rico. In 2008, Nevarez said he spent about $150.
“It’s been a special season, a special team,” he said. “I’m spending more for sure.”
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At the Academy Sports on Airline Highway, Michelle Abadie, of Central, was shopping for seven T-shirts, three hats “and whatever other things they have.”
Abadie said she’s spending more money in the immediate aftermath of an LSU championship win than in the past. “I’m very proud of what they did,” she said. “It’s not usual that they have an undefeated season.”
Brett Jenkins, of Baton Rouge, was at Academy to buy LSU championship T-shirts. Jenkins said he likes to wear LSU gear when visiting cities such as Atlanta and Memphis to rub it in the faces of opposing fans.
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“This makes Louisiana look good in the nation,” he said.
The Advocate has seen strong sales of newspapers and reprinted front pages, commemorating the Tigers' championship season. There were 65,900 copies printed of Tuesday's paper, a larger than normal number. An additional 15,000 copies were reprinted Tuesday to meet consumer demand.
The newspaper set up an e-commerce store after Monday's game and set aside space at its Rieger Road offices in Baton Rouge on Tuesday to sell reprinted front pages. By late Tuesday afternoon, more than 3,000 transactions had been recorded by the e-commerce site and about 600 people had headed to the offices to buy prints.