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The Sport of Game Gear - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

The Sport of Game Gear

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Have you been following the Olympics? A lot of people are! They allow everyone in the country a chance to put aside their differences and cheer for Team U.S.A. as they go for the gold in Sochi.

On a local level, the closest thing to that kind of fan support is probably the high profile three-peat for the NDSU football team. Their championships, along with other NDSU sporting successes, are attracting more and more fans who love to wear green and yellow. No matter what time of the business day, employees are always unloading merchandise at Scheels All Sports, while shoppers are checking out Bison-related clothing. 

"Yeah, frenzy, epidemic. I mean everything Bison is hot right now!" says Caryn Olson of Scheels. "It's kind of like Christmas morning, going through some of these shipments. Sometimes we know this customer is going to love this and this is going to go really well for this age group or women, men."  

And it shows most notably at the Fargodome during football games, where fans create a flowering effect in colorful blossoms of about 18,000 green or yellow petals. A closer look reveals a wide variety of styles.  The demand for Bison apparel has those who produce it scrambling to come up with new styles and fresh designs with catchy phrases.  

"It has certainly evolved. We used to, back in the 80s, when NDSU was winning championships and we were working with the Varsity Mart, then the book store, we would do some stuff, but not at this scale," says Brad Ness of S & S Promotional Group.

As competitive as it is on the gridiron, around 350 vendors, including companies like S & S Promotional Group, are always looking for the next big score and the next great look.

"It's mainly about having the right design on the right product. People are going to buy it," says Ness.

Just like a solid food chain, everyone tied to it is looking for their piece of the apparel pie. NDSU Marketing tells us for every ten dollars spent, NDSU gets a dollar of the wholesale cost.  NDSU is seeing tremendous increases in royalties. In 2010, their cut was nearly $117,000. Last year, it was more than $418,000, a four hundred percent increase. With time left in this budget year, they've already met expectations and could easily reach a half million dollars. 

"We've worked the math backwards, just to see what kind of impact it has on our retail economy. When you think of 10% in royalties, I think we've figured 12-15 million dollars in retail sales," says Troy Goergen, NDSU Marketing.

Much of the monetary growth on all levels is fueled by people who aren't satisfied with just one piece of Bison apparel. Athletic Director Gene Taylor is well aware of the tsunami of sales surrounding the school's success.

"If we can keep it sustained and successful and still be in the playoffs, have a lot of opportunities and the basketball team is successful, the wrestling team successful, all of our other teams are having great success, I think we can continue that," says Taylor.

Like all good business people, Taylor and NDSU's Marketing Department want the good times to keep on thundering along, and a key element to that is getting fans to refresh their closets.

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