Melanie Parker purchased a key chain and drink holders with the old bull logo in May, just before the first of the school’s logo changes were revealed. On that same shopping trip, she bought a pair of shorts and t-shirts for herself and her mother; all three of which have the school’s old colors. She also bought her mother a car decal displaying the now outdated curvy “S”.
Last week, Parker, who transferred to USF as a junior before May, returned to the USF Bookstore and purchased a visor with the new bull-horned USF logo.
“I wanted to have school spirit so I wanted the new stuff,” Parker said.
USF’s merchandise has seen a sales increase since the unveiling of the university’s new athletic logo earlier this month.
“People don’t want to wear the old logo, they want to wear the new logo,” said Brian Bell, business manager of the USF Bookstore.
What is left of the old logo has been shifted to clearance racks since the arrival of the new merchandise. Although old logo items are still selling, the demand definitely runs higher for the new products, Bell said. The bookstore has seen a significant increase in sales with the arrival of the new merchandise, though the reason is still undetermined.
“You don’t know yet if it’s the new logo bringing people in or if its just people who had to replace old merchandise,” Bell said.
Aesthetic appeal and wardrobe renovation aren’t the only reasons students are buying the logo.
“I wanted to support the school’s change,” said junior C.K. Clark. “I thought it was a good update.”
The Bookstore isn’t alone in reaping the benefits of the school’s update. Sports Fan Attic, the retail company affiliated with USF Athletics, is also cashing in.
“Sales are so incredible it’s scary,” said Christina Foster, store manager of the Sports Fan Attic shop in University Mall. “We’ve had to refill (our stock) three times in three weeks.”
Even locations far from the vicinity of the Tampa Campus are noticing an increase in revenue.
“Sales are excellent,” said David Klein, store manager of the Sports Fan Attic in Citrus Park. “I would say they’ve increased about 50 percent.”
Across the Bay at Tyrone Square Mall, sales started off strong but have waned a bit.
“I expect sales to kick off a little more when football season starts and people see the logo on television,” said Dave Durda, the store’s manager.
Football season might bring more attention to the logo and the new line of merchandise, but some say the reverse could also be true. Although entering Conference USA is likely the biggest factor, the season ticket count for this year is up by 1,452 since last year, and is still rising.
“The new logo gives us publicity which helps ticket sales,” said Mike Stuben, director of ticket sales for USF Athletics. “I’d say it has indirectly helped.”
The expectation of both direct and indirect positive effects from the new “iconic bull” logo was the school’s answer to controversy surrounding the financial aspect of the logo change this summer, which occurred during a time of tuition increases and budget cuts.
“It’s definitely going as we planned, and maybe even a little better,” said Tom Veit, associate director of USF Athletics. “We won’t have hard figures til November, but judging from talking to the suppliers and looking at the list of reorders, it’s going quite well.”
Although it’s going well for most retail stores in the area, it is unknown how sales will do on the Internet. There are a few Web sites that offer Bulls gear, though some have yet to offer gear with the university’s new logo. Footballfanatics.com, a partner of TBO.com, still sells gear with the old logo. So does the Web site for NCAA, ncaasports.com.
Sales are also offered at the USF Athletics’ Web site, gousfbulls.com. The site links to a seemingly up-and-running sportsfanatticshop.com, though visiting the Web site directly will not provide the same results. Web surfers can also visit conferenceusa.com for a limited, but unique, selection of Bulls gear with the athletic program’s first run in C-USA.