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National championship helps LSU break records in merchandise revenue

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BATON ROUGE - LSU's perfect 15-0 season produced the university's fourth football national championship. It also played a large role in producing the most profitable year for LSU merchandise on record. 

According to data provided by LSU, the university has generated $2,044,472.37 in national championship product royalties. Another $6,074,470.63 has been brought in for general, non-championship LSU merchandise royalties. Adding that together, LSU has collected $8,118,943 in overall merchandise royalties during the 2019-2020 fiscal year. That smashes the previous record of $5.6 million set in 2012-2013.

Several fees will be taken out of that overall amount, but what is left will be split evenly between the university's general fund and the athletic department. 

But the run on merchandise that followed LSU's run to the championship didn't just break records on campus. Shops like Bengals & Bandits saw their best year of sales in 2019 with the success carrying over into 2020.

"Obviously our championship sales exploded leading into the game, and of course, after the game," Patrick Wilkerson of Bengals & Bandits said. "Probably our strongest weeks were the first two to six weeks after the game, but we've had residual sales since then."

A record-setting year in royalties for LSU and sales for Bengals & Bandits is especially welcome at a time when COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on finances, generally speaking. 

"Coming from a national championship year, that greatly helped us," Wilkerson said. "It gave us a much larger cushion than we typically would have going into the spring. Especially losing the rest of baseball season, and basketball, and the rest of the sports. Having football sales to push through was really great for us."

Heading into the summer with a new season on the horizon and fans longing for sports to return, national championship gear can still be found in stores and online. Add that to the demand for LSU gear in general and there could be more money to made in 2020-2021 and beyond. 

"Because everyone's going to be excited, and this has really pushed the football program further, we expect to see the residuals from this championship, regardless of what happens this year, for at least the next couple of years," Wilkerson said. 

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