Retailers who market Gamecocks gear say they have had a remarkable couple of sales weeks since USC’s history-making capture of its first SEC division football title Nov. 13.
But they are confident sales will blow the doors off those totals if USC wins the SEC Championship Saturday in Atlanta.
“It’ll give a tremendous boost to sales (of all kinds),” said Chuck Todd, president of Todd & Moore Sporting Goods in Columbia. He notes the Gamecocks’ next stop after a win would be a big-game showdown in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 4., the school’s first BCS appearance.
A victory Saturday over No. 2-ranked Auburn University also would give an increasingly excited Gamecock fan base a month of shopping, including over Christmas, to deck themselves and those on their shopping lists out with as much garnet and black as they would like.
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“It would give us a more sustained period,” Todd said. “In my 45 years of doing this, we have never had sales like that.”
Ken Halstead, manager of Addams University Bookstore, agreed, saying sales of Carolina gear has been climbing for a while now.
“The last couple of years have been good, actually,” Halstead said.
“Carolina fans are the most loyal fan base anywhere,” he said, adding Saturday’s SEC championship game represents “another great opportunity.”
“Going into (the championship game) was good, but this is another game they didn’t have (before),” Halstead explained, even in the years Carolina managed to earn a post-season bowl bid.
Both retailers said sales of Gamecock-related gear have been up the past couple weeks, and both said they expect to have SEC championship gear in their stores this weekend if USC wins Saturday night.
“Confidence is high right now,” Halstead said, indicating he expects primarily to have a supply of championship T-shirts and posters on hand Sunday.
Todd, of Todd & Moore, said he has “all kinds of contingencies” in place for Gamecock merchandise this weekend, depending upon the outcome of the football game.
Gamecock championship polo shirts, hats, koozies, car flags, T-shirts and other gear have all been popular items so far, Todd said.
Earlier this year, when the USC baseball team beat UCLA to claim the College World Series championship, Gamecock gear suppliers said they saw amazing sales results.
In one week in July this year after that national championship, Todd said their two local retail outlets did 50 percent to 100 percent more business a day than they normally do in a week at Christmas, which normally is a good time for sales anyway.
There are some other reasons for retailers’ optimism headed into this weekend’s championship game, too, Todd said.
First, football is more popular than baseball.
And secondly, not everyone is going to be able to go to Atlanta for the game on Saturday. Todd believes many of those loyal Gamecock fans will come to Columbia to watch the game Saturday, with other loyal Gamecock fans.
“With the advent of big screen TVs, it’s almost like a tailgating experience,” for fans, Todd said, and “Everybody is excited.
“At about 4 p.m., Columbia is going to shut down,” Todd said. “Don’t you think?”