For the first time in nine years, Texas Tech is sending two teams to the Sweet Sixteen, bringing national exposure and big money to the university. Let's start with merchandise. Many just have to have a Texas Tech Sweet Sixteen shirt, and the further Tech goes in the tournament, the more money there is to be made. Kevin Aaron, Manager of the Spirit Shop says, "When we make it to the final four, that's even better. I've got shirts already to be printed when that happens and I already placed an order for the national title."
Phones are ringing and orders are coming into Lubbock from all around. Everyone wants thing: Texas Tech gear. Stephen Spiegleberg with Red Raider Outfitters says, "Anybody going to the game will have their road trip shirt to show off the red and black."
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Both at Red Raider Outfitters and the Spirit Shop, tourney time means sales are up, way up. Spiegleberg says, "Financially, it's a big impact. Besides local business, we get a lot of internet traffic." Aaron says, "I would say we increase sales by 100% to 200%."
Also increasing: Texas Tech's renown. TTU Associate Athletic Director, Craig Wells, says, "The national exposure you get is definitely a help to recruiting."
The further into the tournment Tech goes, especially for the highly publicized men's tourney, the more money Tech gets from television contracts. Wells says, "That money comes back to the general atheletic fund and you get to use it and disperse it back to the basketball program and to other programs as well."
Not to mention the publicity attracts more applicants to Texas Tech... more students who'll just buy more Tech apparel. Speigleberg says, "We have stuff ordered for Final Four. We're banking on Coach coach Knight to get us there."
Texas Tech men leave for Albuquerque Wednesday. They'll tip off against West Virginia Thursday night at 8:40 pm. The Lady Raiders leave for Philly on Friday. They'll play either Sunday morning or afternoon. They'll play the winner of the Purdue and Tennesee game.
One more interesting fact for the men, Ronald Ross has never lost in the Pitt, the arena the men will be playing in.