Big Ten action kicks off Saturday, as Iowa takes on Northern Illinois and Nebraska takes on Southern Mississippi.
Retailers are reporting brisk Husker sales, as the team heads into its second year in the new conference. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s athletic department earned $3 million from licensing revenue last year. They earn 12-percent off all products with logos sold.
Mark Bash stopped by Husker Hounds this week to outfit his three-week-old baby, Olivia Ann, with a onesie appropriate for game day. “All the stuff she does have at home is too big, so we've got to get a newborn one for her,” he laughed.
Chad Haye had seven-week-old twins, Cole and Elijah, and his three-year-old daughter, Savannah with him, looking to gear them up, too. “We want 'em looking good for the husker game. We want them to be sporting red,” he said matter-of-factly.
But the gear goes well beyond what’s fit for a child. “Husker pet jerseys,” Husker Hounds’ owner Scott Strunc said, “are always a big hit."
Home tailgating items are more popular than ever, Strunc said, with more people opting to stay home for away games rather than travel. His stores sell items like football shaped coolers for a couple hundred bucks to football-styled drink blending machines. The latest, largest addition to the products this year runs $300, complete with a flashing light at the top.
Among the new items is a $10 mini Huskers purse, so women can leave the big bag at home on game day. “This new ladies cut away jersey is from Adidas,” Strunc said, pointing to a red, fitted design with #22 on the back. “We've got the home and away ones,” he said. The jerseys run $55.
Among the t-shirts are designs letting the wearer declare, “NU Positive" blood, or willing to "Work for Season Tickets.”
And one more design, “Jack’s Team,” runs $15. But all proceeds of that shirt, in honor of 6-year-old brain tumor survivor Jack Hoffman, go to fight the battle against pediatric brain cancer.
Husker Hounds and some other retailers are selling the "Jack's Team" t-shirt. It will also be sold at Memorial Stadium Saturday.