While dreams may be shattered and they’ll never know what that championship gear looks like, there’s a bright side to it; there are people thousands of miles away from Allegiant Stadium, in need of clothing and goods, that will receive it.
Those items will be delivered across the globe by way of Good360, a non-profit organization based in Alexandria, Virginia. Working with the NFL, Good360 helps move the what-could’ve-been merchandise from the losers of the Super Bowl – as well as the conference championship games – from the stadium and stores to overseas. The organization is now in its 10th year of working with the league, meaning a decade of a plethora of goods getting in the hands of people in need and not ending up in trash bins.
“It all can be used in a very good way to underserved communities,” Romaine Seguin, CEO of Good360, told USA TODAY Sports.
Why is the losing Super Bowl team gear donated?
When thinking of what to do with the shirts, hats and more, the first thought could be to just throw it away. But that means creating more waste, something Anna Isaacson, senior vice president of social responsibility at NFL, said the league wants to avoid.
There’s also the added reason of wanting to make sure no NFL fans get their hands on merchandise that isn’t accurate. So, donating it gives it actual use.
“We can very well say that it will not end up in a landfill because it ends up in communities that need the product,” Seguin said. “There’s certain items in great demand.”
What gets donated?
Thousands of pieces of merchandise get donated, but hats, shirts, sweatshirts and towels make up the majority of items given out, according to Seguin.
Where do the losing Super Bowl team shirts go?
The NFL and Good360 work together to create a pre-approved list of places where the merchandise can go. The biggest point of emphasis is the NFL wants it to go to places where it’s needed but also where the league is “not a well known brand,” Seguin said. Oftentimes, those that get the gear don’t even understand what it was meant for, a perplexing thought for anyone that tuned in America’s most-watched event.
Good360 doesn’t say exactly where the products will go for security reasons, but regions include countries like Ukraine, Mongolia, Georgia and more. In the past decade, the products have also gone to Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and very well could go there again this year.
Once the list is approved, Good360 reaches out to its non-profit partners in the selected regions to determine what is needed, so once the game ends, they know what to send where.
The process of donating Super Bowl losing team’s gear
The process begins well before the Super Bowl, with the gear from the AFC and NFC championship game already being moved to distribution centers to get ready to be sent out. When the clock hit zero in Super Bowl 58, that process began.
Staff at Allegiant Stadium, as well as retailers and distribution centers across the country, are instructed to send the losing team’s gear to an undisclosed central location in the U.S. where it is gathered and sent at the same time.
The accumulation process takes about a week, and after working with transportation partners, the products are shipped out about two weeks after the Super Bowl. There haven’t been any issues moving stuff out of the country, Seguin said, and eventually, the products get to their destination.
Making sure the losing team’s gear is secure
Learning that the gear is in fact real and somewhere in the country immediately after the game, people could be enticed to try to get their hands on the gear, hoping to collect a piece of history that never happened, or perhaps sell it online.
“You always want to be the most secure you can be,” she said.
Seguin said she’s had people jokingly ask where the gear is, which she never reveals. But in the decade of working with the NFL, Good360 has never had any issues with people attempting to get it.
The silver lining of losing the Super Bowl
Leading up to the game, Good360 tries to educate the public on its efforts and on how impactful it is to donate the merchandise. Seguin also mentions the gear that makes it to places in need is well received since it’s brand new, freshly made gear that can serve several purposes and last for months, if not years for someone.
So if you’re a player or fan of the 49ers, the one positive thing to think about losing the Super Bowl is the gear meant to celebrate the victory is now going to someone that needs it. That’s why Seguin says she calls the team that didn’t win “non-winners,” because they still achieved so much while also serving a great purpose.
“The silver lining is the hat of either team that is the non-winner will be on a child’s head, keeping the sun out of their eyes, or a sweatshirt on a child to keep them warm at night,” she said. “Think about that.”