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NEW YORK (MainStreet)—Casual Friday might mean you see more burnt orange than usual this week. With the kickoff to college football season this weekend, Friday is also "College Colors Day" encouraging fans to wear their school colors to work. The University of Texas at Austin rakes in the most bucks of any school in the U.S. on licensed merchandise, so its distinctive orange will be a leading choice of college football fans in America. Texas has led all schools in total sales for the past eight years.

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The Collegiate Licensing Company reports $4.62 billion was spent last year on college-licensed merchandise – for everything from dog bandanas to garden gnomes. Royalties generated from these sales are returned to the institutions to support student and campus projects.

But of course it's not all burnt orange -- black and red will gain popularity as the University of Louisville moved from number 32 in sales to 25th overall, due to the Cardinals men's basketball national championship.

Other schools gaining a bit of marketing momentum were Texas A&M University which moved up seven spots to number 12 following its conference move to the SEC. And the University of Arkansas gained four positions to finish in CLC's top-10 rankings for the first time.

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Top apparel categories for 2012 to 2013 included T-shirts, women's apparel, fleece, and headwear. Non-apparel favorites included video games, house wares, domestics, and sports equipment.

Based on royalties reported July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, here are the top 20 universities in merchandise sales:

  • 1. The University of Texas at Austin
  • 2. The University of Alabama
  • 3. University of Notre Dame
  • 4. The University of Michigan
  • 5. University of Kentucky
  • 6. Louisiana State University
  • 7. University of Florida
  • 8. University of Georgia
  • 9. University of North Carolina
  • 10. The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
  • 11. The University of Oklahoma
  • 12. Texas A&M University
  • 13. University of Wisconsin
  • 14. University of Nebraska
  • 15. University of Tennessee
  • 16. University of South Carolina
  • 17. West Virginia University
  • 18. Auburn University
  • 19. The Pennsylvania State University
  • 20. University of Missouri

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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