Merch Madness (Updated)
This week I’m eating BBQ in Raleigh, which is one of the stops along the Tobacco Road. Just a few miles away sits Chapel Hill, home of the heralded University of North Carolina men’s basketball team which just made this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Final Four. The fans are devoted to Tar Heel Blue and hunger for new merchandise as soon as it’s available.
In Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas, you can’t go a block without seeing a new style of t-shirt or sweatshirt celebrating the team. The officially licensed stuff is everywhere, but at least an entire season’s worth of user-generated merchandise is on display with variations of logos, Nike Air Jordan symbols and even Michael Jordan Himself featured on shirts. Some go so far as to take a jab at next door rivalries.
Updated 4/3 at 10:45am
Over the weekend, the Washington Post picked up on a lawsuit in the works focused on a t-shirt company for using Grayson Allen’s name without authorization in UGC content meant to take a jab at rival Duke. You can read more here.
At Source3, we know where it all comes from. Beyond officially licensed materials, fans- regardless of whether they are on campus, alumni or simply homegrown supporters- are major contributors to the ecosystem as well. They create designs that are up-to-the-minute, unique and directly connected to the current pulse of their team. With online marketplaces galore, those that can’t be in Chapel Hill at the Dean Smith Center for the big game can get their hands on the “cool stuff” as well.
Will the Tar Heels celebrate a(nother) National Championship, thereby spurring a new batch of innovative, celebratory and fan-created apparel? We’ll find out after this weekend.