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Money from Ducks stuff goes many places

Many of our local stores have big displays of University of Oregon athletic apparel and other merchandise for sale. The brand is everywhere, and that's great for the school, but where does that money go? Does the money just go to their sports program so football players can wear different-colored uniforms every game?

— Ron L., Eagle Point

In 2015, there were about 375 different Oregon Ducks licensed items for sale, from neon jerseys to green Hello Kitty T-shirts to Lego-style figurines, according to a Bloomberg story last year about the University of Oregon's spike in popularity.

A decade and a half of strong showings on the field and close to two decades of those snazzy uniforms showcasing the latest from U of O alum Phil Knight have helped raise Oregon's profile, but so has partnering with a third-party company specializing in licensing merchandise, Georgia-based Fermata Partners. The university and Fermata signed a 7-year contract in 2014.

One full-time employee works as a liaison between Fermata, the school and suppliers with relationships to the university, such as Nike and Disney, according to a memorandum of understanding agreement between the Department of Athletics, Central Administration and University Communications signed in July. 

The University of Oregon generated $4.78 million in the 2013-14 school year, according to Bloomberg, and Fermata gets about 10 to 15 percent of royalties, with variables including the type of item and its wholesale price. The remainder of those royalties is split between the three departments.

The university's communications department gets the first $350,000, and the athletics and administration departments split the remainder with a number of caveats. As examples, if the figure is between $4.35 and $4.5 million, the athletic department gets the extra, up to $150,000, and Nike gear with the slogan "Win the Day" gets additional royalties that all go to the athletic department.

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