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Marquette basketball merchandise still sells despite losing season

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Marquette basketball merchandise still sells despite losing season

Photo by Madeline Pieschel / madeline.pieschel@marquette.edu

Photo by Madeline Pieschel / madeline.pieschel@marquette.edu

Photo by Madeline Pieschel / madeline.pieschel@marquette.edu

Photo by Madeline Pieschel / madeline.pieschel@marquette.edu

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Marquette men’s basketball merchandise maintained steady sales despite the team’s losing season this school year.

This year’s men’s basketball team missed the NCAA March Madness tournament and dropped to last place in the Big East conference with a 13-19 record. But that didn’t keep the team’s licensed apparel sales from continued yearly success with the store’s most popular products due to a strong sports fan base and alumni support

“Post-season play adds additional excitement … but regardless of the team’s success, Marquette basketball product sales remained by far the strongest,” said Jim Graebert, senior director of Marquette merchandising and licensing. He said specific sales numbers was not released.

Graebert said December’s holiday season consistently brings more customers, even with the large amount of fanfare that surrounds college basketball’s post-season. That fanfare sets TV ratings that beat pro sports, like NBA and NHL, in playoff viewership. The spirit shop also has the support of good sales in Marquette soccer and lacrosse team merchandise, in addition to women’s apparel.

“(If) we are talking (making the) Final Four — then all bets are off,” Graebert said when describing post-season sales trends.

Teams that reach the NCAA Final Four see a large surge in demand for their branded items and limited commemorative memorabilia with the college’s name and logos. The University of Wisconsin-Madison received that sales boom quickly after winning the West region to secure a Final Four spot coveted by fans and marketers alike.

“We’ve been selling the Wisconsin shirt like hotcakes,” said Aliah Dorsey, a Bayshore Sports Authority sales associate. “The 2015 regional champion shirt sold out within literally three days.”

The demand for Wisconsin apparel was intense during the Final Four, with seasoned fans and bandwagoners alike stocking up. Dorsey said a number of weeks have passed since customers have asked about Marquette apparel. Managers at Wauwatosa’s Dick’s Sporting Goods, where the Wisconsin merchandise greatly outnumbers Marquette items, saw similar trends at their stores.

Still, Dorsey acknowledged sales shift seasonally regardless of a team’s record.

“If it would have been (Marquette), I think everyone would be jumping on the bandwagon to support,” Dorsey said.

The spirit shop is used to these shifts and learned how to respond.

“There are some swings in business each year based on a lot of factors from the economy, enrollment and even the weather,” Graebert said. “We are blessed with an amazing basketball tradition here at MU and are looking forward to great success in the future — we are ready to respond.”

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