Roy Williams and members of the Kansas University basketball team aren't the only ones happy about the Jayhawks' No. 1 ranking. Being on top of the hoops also is bringing in money for some local businesses.
Mike Reid, manager of the Kansas Union Bookstore, said he had noticed a small increase in revenue throughout the store compared with last year. But Reid said the biggest increase had come at the novelty booths set up during home basketball games.
"We're doing a little better," Reid said. "We're up about half a percent from last year. If the next six months are really good, we could see a 10 percent increase."
THE STORE'S novelty booths have brought in a lot of money this year, Reid said. He said fans liked to buy T-shirts, sweatshirts and other Jayhawk-wear to promote the basketball team.
Reid, who attends KU home games, said the bookstore ordered T-shirts to commemorate KU's No. 1 ranking, which was announced Monday.
"They're full-color Jayhawk T-shirts," Reid said. "They have a big No. 1 and the official ranking date on them Jan. 8, 1990."
Other specialty T-shirts this season were a National Invitation Tournament shirt and a KU vs. Kentucky game shirt, Reid said. He said such one-time novelties usually sell well to KU students.
When the Jayhawks won the NCAA basketball championship in 1988, the bookstore made about half a million dollars selling championship novelties. Lines at the registers extended to the back of the store, and people came in droves to buy "Champs" T-shirts and posters.
The unexpected revenue allowed the bookstore to give back to students increased dividends for money spent at the unions.
BUT HE'S NOT ready yet to plunge into investing in Final Four shirts. Including tonight's game against Miami, the Jayhawks have 15 regular season games left.
"It's still early in the season," said Peg Wittmer, general manager of Sports Unlimited. "We'll wait and see what happens."
Wittmer said the sporting goods store had sold a lot of clothing with the Jayhawk logo and shirts with basketballs.
"We had a lot of people during Christmas come in and buy shirts to take home," Wittmer said.
Mario Espinoza, assistant manager at Jayhawk Spirit, said the store, which does its own silk-screen printing, is making plans for "Going to Denver" shirts. Denver is the site of this year's NCAA basketball championship games.
He said sales had been up at their store as well.
"Anytime KU does well, we sell a lot," Espinoza said. "People buy anything that will look good at a game."