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College Football's Retail Product Dilemma: Do Wins Translate into Sales?

BabyTateSenior Writer IJuly 23, 2009

Deannie Dunbar and Ted DeYounge are two old pros at hawking college football paraphernalia in and around the stadiums of the southeast.

For a dollar and a quarter they can also get you a plastic blue cup with the lettering "The King" and the number 43 printed on the outside.

Deannie, Ted, and yours truly once ran a "gentleman's club" known as "The Sportsman's Paradise" in the hills of South Carolina.

For all non-initiated readers of mid-20th Century low brow society deep in the heart of Dixie, perhaps a translation of such an establishment is in order.

Beer Joint!

There were actually two clubs, one with the walls peppered with Clemson logos, Frank Howard calendars, and items to sell.

Location No. 2 featured an environment where fans of the South Carolina Gamecocks would feel comfortable.

Embarrassing yes, for a person who would like to view his work of helping his fellow man in later years as the signature moments of his life.

Needless to say, many a good deed is learned at the door step of sin. Or, something like that. 

Regardless of our shared history over the decades, we rarely get together anymore as Deannie and Ted spend most of the year traveling. Doing what they've always done best, selling product.

Last weekend found all of us in Surfside Beach, South Carolina. We decided to meet at Sam's Corner and have a "Hot Dog and a SunDrop" while we caught up on the past five years.

In their game, they keep a ready supply of T-Shirts, cell phone covers, caps, stickers, and license tags.

The public whose ever increasing thirst to be identified with their team, their school, their race car driver, or their favorite player must be satisfied.

What is the biggest seller among college football teams may surprise readers. "No doubt about it" said the giant 6'6" Dunbar as he towered over customers to reach for more mustard, "Florida is your big seller, it's because they win the championships."

Inquiring about who was the best seller this time last year caused some consternation among the two but they finally agreed that in the southeast, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida were the big movers.

"We went to NASCAR events in the midwest, and Nebraska was all the rage last year and this year" said the 6'4" DeYounge who looks like he could still climb in the ring.

In the 1950s and 60s Ted wrestled while wearing a mask in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Ted's massive hands grabbed at a black T-Shirt sticking out of the bag he brought with him.

"You see this, these we ordered to have Dale Earnhardt's face printed in here." "You got to pay for licensing, it's money up front, money, money, money."

"But", he added, "out in the midwest you can sell plain black shirts to Nebraska football fans, they love 'em."

Apparently Bo Pellini is good for business with the blackshirt crowd. Wonder if he has to pay any tribute to Bob Devaney, it was his idea in the first place.

Deannie injected, "you remember the old days in Texas, you could sell them a fly-swatter with horns on it but now, everyone wants this pro football stuff, you'll go broke carrying an inventory of Longhorn items."

Ted piped in "Oklahoma's no better." "We stocked up on crimson (OU) last year before the championship game, couldn't move half of them."

Inquiring if they have to make a reasonable guess on which inventory to increase Deannie replied "it matters where you're going to sell, we figure the southeast in September will be good for Florida and Alabama."

Sounds like business may be banking on a repeat of last year's SEC Title game.

I wouldn't doubt it.

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