How One Company Dominates NCAA Merchandising by Making T-Shirts Minutes After Every Big Win

By keeping track of just about every NCAA and pro game as it happens and employing rapid response strategy when the game is over, Fanatics has come to dominate instant sports merchandising.

By Laura RiceMarch 23, 2017 11:26 am

If you’ve ever wondered how sports fans can order commemorative T-shirts immediately after a big win, you might be surprised to know that there’s one company dominating the business and keeping tabs on almost every major NCAA or professional matchup in real time.

As an official NCAA partner, merchandising company Fanatics has design books for all colleges that list approved logos, colors, and typefaces. Using those raw ingredients, it takes the company’s rapid responders just a few minutes to whip up a T-shirt reflecting a game’s storyline – whether it’s a come-from-behind victory by an acclaimed powerhouse or a moment in the sun for an also-ran.

Eben Novy-Williams, a reporter for Bloomberg, says that this rapid response system has been one of the biggest changes to a single marketplace in at least a decade.

“[Fanatics] is the silent juggernaut behind almost everything that fans buy from a licensed, branded merchandise standpoint,” Novy-Williams says. “They’ve done it by buying up rights and by streamlining the production process.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How the rapid-response design process works from start to finish

– The time it takes for a design to become a T-shirt

– How much profit a team can miss out on if they don’t utilize the rapid-response system
Written by Emma Whalen.