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Penn State Memorabilia Sales Dropping

11/21/2011

The child abuse scandal at Penn State continues to unfold with pain and suffering on multiple levels.

From Thought-Tech’s perspective what is interesting to observe is the economic impact on the Penn State identity. I’m reluctant to call it a brand (but many do and will continue to do so) because the term brand has become so overused it only serves to trivialize true brands.

The brunt of the economic hit Penn State will take may take years to fully appreciate. Lost tuition, missed TV revenue from sports, legal costs, etc. will undoubtedly take their toll.

However, right here, right now sales of Penn State logo’d product such as hats, shirts and general merchandise has fallen 40 percent since the same period last year. The total of annual sales spent on Penn State “branded” merchandise is $80 million. It stands to reason that a 40 percent decline is a big chunk of change.

The college-branded market is big business – about a $4 billion a year business to be exact. Penn State usually ranks in the top 10 in college product sales. That is changing fast.

Unfortunately the pain of this drop in sales will be far-reaching. Retailers, vendors, distributors, factories – all will feel the impact. As we’ve never had a scandal like this before it’s difficult to guess what the long-term holds for Penn State’s identity. It’s not unrealistic to believe that once the dust clears and justice has gone its course the Penn State faithful will return to supporting their university. Until that time, however, Penn State may be on an economic free-fall.

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