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Syracuse is crushing UNC, Villanova and Oklahoma in Final Four merchandise sales

Daniel Roberts
Sales data from Fanatics
Sales data from Fanatics

The NCAA men's basketball Final Four finally comes on Saturday night, after a whole week off from games. And fans of the four teams that made it this far—Syracuse University, The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Villanova University and Oklahoma University—have spent the week of rest ordering new gear to show off their fandom.

Syracuse fans have ordered more than the rest—a lot more. According to exclusive data from Fanatics, the No. 1 retailer of professional and college sports apparel, sales of Syracuse gear rose 750% in the five days from March 27 to March 31. That's not just the biggest sales spike of the Final Four teams, or of teams that played in the tourney this year. It's the largest sales bump by any college on the site, ever.

Fanatics, a sports tech and retail startup with a unicorn valuation of $3 billion, sells the licensed apparel made by Nike, Under Armour and others, and it powers the online store of every major American sports league: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, NASCAR and the PGA Tour. It says the closest any school has ever come to the Syracuse 750% bump was Wichita State in 2013—but the volume of sales then wasn't close to that of Syracuse now. (Fanatics won't share sales numbers.)

In addition, Syracuse was the most popular of the four Final Four schools in 24 states. UNC was the bestseller in 19 states, Oklahoma in four, and Villanova in only three.

It helps that both Syracuse squads have made the Final Four this year—the men and the women.

What else is driving the 'Cuse crush? Jack Boyle, merchandising president at Fanatics, says it's because this year, with Syracuse, "You have an established school with national appeal also playing the underdog role, which is rare and driving unprecedented sales." Indeed, Syracuse had an inconsistent season this year, and many didn't expect the school to even make the bracket. Now it's one of the last four schools standing. Syracuse is a 10-seed; the other schools are all 1- or 2-seeds.

To be sure, it isn't as though fans of the other schools aren't buying. Fanatics says it has seen more sales for all four Final Four teams in this week than ever before. For Syracuse, it's likely that there are people buying jerseys, hats, and t-shirts who aren't even alumni of the school.

The two Final Four games are coming on Saturday; are you all geared up?


Daniel Roberts is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering sports business and technology.

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