March 8, 2012
Quick Slant is an array of brief insights and occasionally opinionated overviews of collegiate athletics in general and the Vanderbilt Commodores in particular.
A cross section of Vanderbilt University officials met Tuesday with five executives from merchandising giant Collegiate Licensing Company, which represents Vanderbilt in the complex and competitive world of licensed merchandise. Vanderbilt is one of the 13 Southeastern Conference members and 200 universities nationwide working with CLC. We've been with the company since 2007 and have seen steep growth in the sale of licensed merchandise in the marketplace. In the last two quarters alone Vanderbilt's royalty revenue is up 30%, no doubt fueled by an upbeat football season on the heels of a College World Series appearance.
Vanderbilt items are found in more outlets than before. Brooks Brothers has been a major new partner while we are "in" a dozen Cracker Barrel Restaurants and 20 Old Navy stores to name just a couple of the several dozen mentioned. The largest source of quality, licensed merchandise is Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt, the university's new bookstore partner now located conveniently at the corner of West End and 25th Avenue. Online marketing was also discussed, a viable option for our scattered alumni base.
Despite the progress, we will continue our outreach push because we realize we have a long way to go to make our merchandise easy to find. One thing that we were reminded of - something we already knew - is that merchants stock items they believe will sell. If there isn't enough demand, no merchant will risk unsold inventory. If you are in a store that doesn't carry Vanderbilt gear, politely suggest to the store manager that you were looking for something they don't carry as opposed to simply walking out empty handed.
Drew Maddux, a third-generation Commodore who still ranks eighth among all-time Vanderbilt scorers, is our SEC Basketball Legend this year. He will be introduced at mid-court during our Friday night quarterfinal game between the winner of Mississippi State and Georgia. Drew is currently the head boys basketball coach at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Franklin.
Next week (March 11-18) will be super busy in our world as the men's basketball team gets ready for its NCAA Tournament assignment, we are hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament in Memorial Gym (ticket info), we have two home lacrosse games and it's the weekend of our only home bowling tournament of the year; the Columbia 300 Music City Classic will have 16 of the top 20 teams in the nation competing Friday (March 16th) and Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning (finals). There is no admission for the lacrosse and bowling events.