Kentucky Loses $1.5 Million in Royalty Fees After Final Four Loss
After a stunning loss at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers, the Kentucky Wildcats were forced out of the NCAA Tournament, and all hopes of an undefeated season were shattered. It was no doubt an emotional time for the players and coaches (and the magazine editors who had them winning the whole thing in their office pool). They had been on the cusp of a feat that had not been done in 39 years, but by missing out on the merchandising opportunities of an undefeated season, the school itself missed out on more than a million dollars in royalties.
According to ABC News, industry experts estimated that losing to Wisconsin in the Final Four will cost the University of Kentucky as much as $1.5 million in royalty fees in "Kentucky Wildcats National Champions" and "Undefeated Season" items that they now can't sell.
Matt Hoetker of Wildcat Wearhouse in Lexington, Ky. told ABC News that had Kentucky kept their undefeated streak alive to the end, Wildcat Wearhouse would have given the university more than $1 million in royalties for sales. He added, however, that while Kentucky dominated during March and the beginning of April, his business sold more Wildcat merchandise than the entire 2011-12 season, which was the last time they won the title. Had they made it all the way, Wildcat Wearhouse would have produced 115,000 T-shirts over the next month.
Derek Eiler, co-founder of Fermata Partners, the exclusive licensing partner for the Kentucky Wildcats consumer products, told WDRB that the a 40-0 season could have been a $10 million opportunity for both parties.
Bloomberg listed Kentucky's royalties at $6.73 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year—seventh in the country among royalty merchandise earners. Just like the infamous 18-1 New England Patriots in 2007, the Kentucky Wildcats won't be selling any items to commemorate their perfect season this year.