"Currently there are approximately 480 companies licensed for use of the WVU trademarks," Malone said. "It is difficult to quantify how many retail outlets carry WVU-trademarked merchandise. The availability of WVU-licensed merchandise has grown significantly over the years and the Internet has helped improve availability.
"We do believe that there is a correlation between the success of the sports programs and the increase in sales of licensed products," she said.
Collegiate Licensing Co. has managed the program for the last four years. Earlier this month the Atlanta, Ga.-based company signed a 10-year contract extension with WVU.
In a press release announcing the extension, Collegiate Licensing Co. said it has enabled WVU to extend its retail presence in the marketplace into new channels of distribution and to expand product selection in current distribution channels including Best Buy, Cracker Barrel, Walmart and Target.
West Virginia University is one of seven schools in the Big 12 Conference represented by Collegiate Licensing Co. The company said it represents nearly 200 colleges, universities, bowl games, athletic conferences, The Heisman Trophy and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Malone said WVU extended its contract with Collegiate Licensing Co. to continue to increase exposure in the marketplace and to help ensure the continued growth of all facets of the university's licensing program, which includes assisting WVU with the protection and enforcement of its trademark rights.
Payments to WVU from Collegiate Licensing Co. are based on percentages of annual generated revenue, she said.