Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

The Final Four and More

Hoya Paranoia:
Florida, UCLA and Ohio State will all outsell Georgetown in merchandise this year - by a mile. But it's not an apples to apples comparison since Georgetown doesn't have a football team -- seen as the biggest sport driver of sales. Georgetown also doesn't have anything close to the alumni base of the other Final Four participants. Ohio State's undergraduate population is about five times that of Georgetown's.

Georgetown Hoyas

But the Hoyas have the most to gain from this Final Four and will likely experience the largest merchandise revenue increase of any team in the Final Four that can be attributed to this event alone.

You see, in the early 90s, Georgetown was the best selling college, according to the rankings of the Collegiate Licensing Company. CLC manages the marks of more than 200 colleges and universities (the Hoyas and Florida in this Final Four). Last year, the Hoyas ranked 54th on the list and last quarter fell to No. 58.

CLC's Kit Walsh told me that the rankings from 25 years ago aren't as comparable because the company has since added 18 clients that now rank ahead of the Hoyas. Nonetheless, its easy to see that the school is less relevant than it was in the days of Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning.

Last year, two schools that don't have a football school in Division I-A beat out Georgetown in merchandise sales -- Montana (which always is competing for DI-AA championships) and the NCAA Tournament cinderella Gonzaga.

Expect the Final Four run to make Georgetown a national team again. CLC reports that Georgetown's merchandise has experienced six consecutive quarters of revenue growth and this quarter should be its best in more than a decade. CLC has something called College Vault that enables licenses to use old logos and the team is getting a huge push from now being part of the Jordan brand -- a weird irony considering the fact that it was Jordan himself who beat the Hoyas 25 years ago with that famous jumper.

Ticket Prices:
Stubhub has the ticket price for the Final Four -- all three games -- at about $895, the semifinals average selling price is currently $526 and the final game is $513. But I can tell you that if you can get down to Atlanta, you might be able to find the cheapest ticket in recent history. I spoke to a broker in the elevator here at my hotel in Atlanta. He told me that Ohio State and Florida fans spend their money travelling to football games and UCLA fans and Georgetown fans aren't within easy driving distance that makes it easier for them to decide, at the last minute, to go to a game.

Praying For Commercial Breaks:
Remind me, in my next life I'm coming back as a theme song writer. John Tesh pulled in massive cash from his "Roundball Rock," which was the NBA on NBC theme song. David Barrett makes a pretty penny from "One Shining Moment." And Bob Christianson pulls it in, thanks to the famous music CBS plays bumping in and out of commercials and tournament games. Christianson told USA Today that he gets paid every time it plays. He wrote the tune 15 years ago.

Limited Edition Hits Golf:
Next week, for the Masters, Nike is rolling out limited edition golf shoes that Tiger Woods will be wearing. But the company won't be alone. Puma is also debuting a limited edition shoe - in gold. The shoes will be worn by defending Masters champ Geoff Ogilvie as well as British Masters champion Johan Edfors and up-and-coming Japanese star Hideto Tanihara. Starting next Thursday, limited edition gold versions of PUMA's Concorde GTX will be available in select stores.

Questions?  Comments?