At around 10:30 on Sunday Night, just as the confetti cannon launches millions of tiny pieces of paper into the air and one team is crowned Super Bowl Champions, boxes of T-shirts and hats will make their way onto the field. They’ll be handed out to the players for their immediate application. Super Bowl XLIV Champions, the gear will say, along with the logo of whichever team wins.
But that’s only half of the stash that waits for the game to end. The rest of it – the stuff with the losing team’s logo on it – will be sent to Haiti, part of a donation of $2 million worth of clothing that will be made through World Vision, the humanitarian organization which annually receives all donated, post-season apparel from the NFL and its partners.
So whichever team loses the Super Bowl can take heart in knowing that the T-shirts and hats they never got to wear will be going to people who probably need them a lot more.
"For years, World Vision has helped us to ensure that no NFL apparel goes to waste," said David Krichavsky, NFL Director of Community Relations. "With the enormous needs in Haiti and World Vision's long-term presence there, we know that these goods will go to very good use."
According to a release from World Vision:
Prior to championship games, Reebok produces shirts and caps and McArthur Towel & Sports produces Trophy Towels, announcing each team as the winner. These items are kept on hand for the winning team's players to wear immediately following the game. Since 1992, World Vision has accepted thousands of unusable shirts and caps following football's biggest event.
Additionally, major sporting good retailers and manufacturers donate large quantities of official apparel that they have stocked in anticipation of either team winning the Super Bowl. On average, this equates to about 100 pallets annually - or $2 million worth. Instead of being destroyed, the losing team's items are shipped from the host city to World Vision's International Distribution Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
In past years the clothing has wound up all over the world. Arizona Cardinals gear went to El Salvador. Patriots gear went to Nicaragua. Bears gear went to Zambia.
Not only does the official merchandise get sent to places where it is needed, but all confiscated counterfeit apparel is also sent there too. In fact, the program began in 1991 at the Storehouse of World Vision through a donation of confiscated goods from Los Angeles Customs.