CINCINNATI — Two weeks ago, immediately after the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, Bengals players were wearing AFC Champion T-shirts and hats before they could get back to the sideline.
There were boxes full of similar gear for the Chiefs. At SoFi Stadium right now, there's clothing and caps celebrating the 'Super Bowl Champion' Bengals.
What happens to all the losing team's championship gear?
According to the L.A. Times, the losing team's gear will be going to a nonprofit called Good360. Since 2015, the Virginia-based company has taken losing t-shirts and clothing from the Super Bowl, AFC and NFC title games and the World Series.
Boxes at the stadium and retailers across the country will be sent to the nonprofit. Once the organization has enough to clothing fill a shipping container, it will be sent overseas and distributed to people in need of clothing.
Shari Rudolph, the chief marketing officer at Good360, wouldn't give the L.A. Times specifics about where the merchandise is taken.
"With this donation, it's a bit sensitive," Rudolph said. "We don't disclose the exact locations they go. I can say they end up in countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and South America.
The losing team gear is a small part of donations handled by Good360 and is pretty rare. Before Good360 began shipping the clothing overseas, the t-shirt with the wrong winner would get out to the public. Right now, a shirt honoring the Cincinnati Bengals as Super Bowl 23 champions is on eBay for $10,000. Rudolph said the items tend to number in the thousands, which is a small chunk of Good360's total donations in 2021 of $1.3 billion.
The other side of the Super Bowl gear is the instant t-shirt. Jamie Mottram, of Breaking T, specializes in quick-to-print gear that can capitalize on a single play from a game or a popular internet meme. When a popular t-shirt takes off, they can contact a larger printer to help meet demand.
In the lead-up to the Super Bowl, Mottram said Bengals gear was out-selling Rams gear 4-to-1, in anticipation of Cincinnati winning the Super Bowl.
"If you're a Bengals fan, you're losing your money and your mind right now," Mottram said.
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