For the forseeable future, fans of the Kansas City Chiefs will be decked out in championship gear now that the team has hoisted the Super Bowl trophy.
What happens to the gear that was created for fans of the losing team, the San Francisco 49ers?
Apparel companies create merchandise for both teams so that players, coaches and staff have them available for the trophy presentation and post-game celebrations, while fans can immediately order them at the conclusion of the game.
The stuff made for the the losing team is not made to the public. Instead of wasting perfectly usable merchandise, a nonprofit organization receives the gear.
Until 2015, that organization was World Vision. It wouldn’t know how much merchandise it would receive until after the game, a spokeswoman for the group told CNN. The goods would include towels, shirts, hats and sweatshirts.
World Vision would then distribute the items according to need: Cold-weather countries received sweatshirts, while warmer countries received T-shirts.
World Vision has shipped the merchandise to countries across the globe, including Zambia, Bosnia, Romania, Armenia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mongolia, Uganda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Rwanda.
The non-profit Good360 took over distribution of excess merchandise for the NFL and is in its sixth year working with the league. The league sends the Alexandria, Virginia-based organization a pre-approved list of countries where the goods can go.
Good360 chief development officer Shari Rudolph told CNN that the non-profit takes “every step possible to mitigate the risk of these items finding their way back into the US.”
Good360 has a network of pre-qualified and vetted non-profits that it distributes donations to, and it has distributed more than $9 billion in needed goods in total. Last year, the nonprofit distributed $330 million in goods.
So, 49ers fans, take some solace in knowing that somewhere someone in need will have a shirt on their back celebrating a nonexistent championship for your team.