UK’s NCAA Tournament defeat means financial loss for retailers

From bars and restaurants to UK merchandise stores, all will feel the financial hit of the Wildcats unexpected early exit from the tourney

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – When Kentucky lost Thursday night to Saint Peter’s in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, so did retailers who sell Wildcat merchandise.

For example, when UK’s undefeated team lost in the National Semi-Final to Wisconsin in 2015, industry insiders estimated that defeat cost UK as much as $1.5 million in royalty fees and cost retailers $5 million in championship gear, according to ESPN.

Thursday night’s loss is not nearly as dramatic as the one in 2015, but there will still be an impact on merchandise revenue.  This end of the season means fans won’t watch the Wildcats win a title and businesses won’t be bringing in champion team merchandise, irreplaceable items for fans like Ken Jewell.

“I have a couple of sweatshirts, several t-shirts, a couple of caps,” he adds.

We reached out to several retailers but none would talk about the financial impact of the opening round upset loss. It seems likely that sales will slump until the excitement builds in the run-up to next year’s season.

For fans like Jewell, he refuses to store his Wildcat gear until next season and instead visited in the University of Kentucky Bookstore to buy more.  He says win or lose, his heart still bleeds blue.

“We may be sad for a couple of days but I’m a lifetime UK fan, that’s not going to change because of one loss.”

Categories: Featured, Local News, Solid Blue