By Jesse McLean
Amidst the crowded isles and restless lines of the bookstore, Ryerson has introduced a brand new face.
For the first time ever, t-shirts and hoodies carrying the logo of Ryerson’s sports teams, the Rams, are available for purchase.
“We want to meet the demand that we feel is there by the fans, the parents and alum. Then we’ll see if it takes off,” said Jane Brown, manager of marketing and special programs for Ryerson’s sports and recreation.
Brown hopes for the Rams’ wear to raise school spirit and provide a source of revenue for Ryerson athletics.
“It’s just great marketing for us, people walking around with Ryerson Rams on their chest,” she said.
The gear has been a work in progress since Brown started at Ryerson four years ago. Originally giving away shirts as promotions at home games, she felt it was time to open up to a bigger market. The sweatshirts sell for $64.95 while their short-sleeve counterparts are going for $19.45. However, bookstore manager Kelly Abraham says the gear’s profits are not its main goal.
“It’s not really to do with sales, it’s got to do with school spirit,” said Abraham, adding that it’s too early to compare sales with other Ryerson clothes.
Raising school spirit is a definite step forward said Dr. Susan G. Ziegler, a professor of sports psychology at Cleveland State University.
“Introducing the clothes would serve two-folds,” Ziegler said. “It would certainly increase revenue, as well as open [the team’s] arms and bring faculty and general students into the athletic family.”
She also said to expect a rise in student attendance at sports games.
“It’ll no longer be just the basketball team, but the team with hundred fans.”
Sean O’Callaghan, a first-year urban regional planning student is considering buying a sweater, even though he’s never seen the Rams play.
“I’m interested in sports, I like school teams,” said O’Callaghan who plans on attending future games.
But many other students are expressing concern over the athletic gear’s lack of advertising on campus.
“Honestly, no one I know has heard of it,” said Tammy Yiu, the fourth-year fashion student whose rough sketches caught the attention of director of sports and recreation, David Dubois.
He contacted Yiu last year to discuss her involvement with the team’s clothing line. But due to time restraints in order for a fall release, Yiu’s concepts of shirts, toques and shorts were dismissed for future consideration.
Yiu is excited for the release of the clothes, but doubts she’ll buy any.
“The types of students here aren’t your typical kind of college students,” she said. “If the [shirts] have an appealing graphic…and also says Rams on it, that’s more of an incentive to pick it up.”
And extravagancy is the next step, according to Brown.
“The more exciting we make them, the more of a demand there’s going to be, especially with the student population,” she said.
Currently, the clothes are more of a test than anything. Although she hints of a baseball cap and new designs for next fall, the focus is on selling the shirts at games and creating a market.
“It’s a large capital investment to buy all that clothing. We might think people will want to buy it, but until someone whips out their credit card, we just have to market before we invest too much in it.”
Abraham agrees with testing the market, and hopes for future Rams clothes to be available in the bookstore. “We have to stand up and show school spirit,” he said.
“We’ve stepped up to the plate, [the students] have to, too.”