The University of Georgia’s first football national title since 1980 has sent Bulldogs fans into a buying frenzy.
Sales of Georgia championship gear at Fanatics has eclipsed any other college football title in company history. In less than 24 hours, Fanatics sold more Georgia title merchandise than it did in the 30 days after Alabama won last year. That Alabama team was the company’s previous top-selling college football champion.
Sales immediately following titles generally depend on the size of a fan base, the excitement of the season and how long it’s been since the last title—the Chicago Cubs’ drought-snapping World Series win in 2016 is considered the perfect storm—and this year’s Bulldogs have all three. Since winning the national title in 1980, the Bulldogs have won five SEC championships and played in more than a dozen New Year’s bowls without winning it all. After the 2017 season, Georgia made it all the way to the championship game only to finish as runner-up to Alabama.
The top-selling market since Monday’s game is, predictably, Atlanta, followed by Washington D.C., Augusta (Georgia), Savannah (Georgia) and Jacksonville.
Michael Rubin’s company, which is rapidly expanding beyond its core apparel business, is the largest seller of licensed sports merchandise. It runs the official Georgia online shop, and had product available for purchase moments after the game ended. That includes clothing like t-shirts and hats, plus hard goods such as footballs and pennants.
Georgia was ranked No. 1 for most of the year before losing by 17 points to Alabama in the SEC title game. The Bulldogs dominated Michigan in the semifinals and rallied in the second half Monday to beat the Crimson Tide. While the defense was the dominant force for the team all season, quarterback Stetson Bennett IV—a Georgia native who walked onto the team in 2017, left to play at a junior college, then returned—has emerged as the face of the victory.
Merchandise sales are just one of the many ways the Bulldogs will capitalize on this national title. High-profile victories generally produce short-term increases in sponsorship and licensing revenue, and larger impacts in the form of donations, future ticket sales and future recruiting.
Georgia already spends—and brings in—more on football than almost anyone else in the country. The Bulldogs reported a $48.5 million football budget and $134.4 million in football revenue in Fiscal 2020, both Top 10 among public schools, according Sportico’s intercollegiate athletics database.