Here's What Really Happens To The Losing Team's Super Bowl Merchandise

The Cincinnati Bengals may have lost Super Bowl LVI, but their championship hopes live on in the form of Super Bowl merchandise that was pre-printed for the team in the event that they won the 2022 game. Because the demand for championship gear is so high following a high-profile game's conclusion, retailers usually prepare two sets of posters, hats, and clothing for each possible outcome, according to Mental Floss. In 2022, this meant that the Los Angeles Rams had "Super Bowl Champions" merch available right after the game was called — but where do the losing team's t-shirts end up?

According to the Los Angeles Times, the gear is donated to a nonprofit called Good360, which handles the losing team's merch for the Super Bowl, the NFC and AFC Championships, and the World Series. Good360 collects the gear in shipping containers to send overseas for people in need of pristine, free clothes that happen to be factually inaccurate.

The clothes are shipped to poorer countries, for better or worse

According to Shari Rudolph, the CMO at Good360, the clothes go all over the world (via the Los Angeles Times). "With this donation, it's a bit sensitive, so we don't disclose the exact locations they go," Rudolph said. "What I can say is they end up in countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and South America." In previous years, some of the clothing has gone to the victims of natural disasters, such as survivors of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, says CTV News. Though some Americans try to get their hands on them as well — a t-shirt proclaiming the Bengals as Super Bowl XXIII champions (they lost to the 49ers) was recently listed on eBay with an asking price of $10,000.

The idea is to keep the merchandise from entering landfills, but the practice hasn't been without criticism. Some aid experts have pointed out that clothing is cheap and plentiful all around the world, and most places do not actually need outside supplies of clothing. They argue that all this free clothing does is take business away from local clothing merchants (via Huffington Post). It also allows the NFL to print an equal number of shirts for both teams, knowing that they can write off half the shirts as a charitable tax deduction, wrote Saundra Schimmelpfennig — who developed The Charity Rater — on her blog "Good Intentions Are Not Enough" (via Humanosphere). But once the shirts have been picked over, they still might end up in a local landfill, according to Trove, where they will decompose and release greenhouse gasses and other chemicals (via NC State).