A team’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 10 years will get fans to crack open their wallets.
That is exactly what Seton Hall supporters are doing as the Pirates prepare to play Gonzaga in the opening round of the Big Dance on Thursday. As of Tuesday, March 15, Seton Hall was the fourth-best selling school in terms of merchandise since the NCAA Tournament bracket was released, according to Fanatics.com – one of the largest sports online retailers.
Rounding out the top-five were annual college basketball powerhouses North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan State and Oregon.
While the company did not release monetary sales figures, Fanatics said that “demand and interest is extremely high right now for the Pirates.”
Fanatics also added that Seton Hall’s sales had spiked 1,500 percent between Sunday and Tuesday. Furthermore, Pirates sales are up 3,700 percent compared to this time last year.
Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard credits the staggering numbers to a fanbase starved of a contender in recent years.
“We have a very passionate fanbase – we have a very loyal fanbase – but it hasn’t been the easiest go for a long time for our fanbase. Our fanbase is so excited about the way these young men are playing,” Willard said. “You have to give this group of kids a whole lot of credit for rejuvenating a very passionate fanbase.”
Gary Phillips can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @GaryHPhillips.