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School license plates in the state of Florida

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School license plates in the state of Florida

The recession is no match for school spirit – at least when it comes to college license plates.

While Floridians may be cutting back on other discretionary expenses, sales of most Florida university license plates have been rising. And sales over the first seven months of 2009 are looking even stronger than 2008's.

"It's hard to unravel the passion for someone who wants to display their team," said Derek Eiler, a vice president with the Atlanta-based Collegiate Licensing Co.

The trend hasn't been across the board for all specialty plates. Sales of the two most popular environmental plates – Protect Wild Dolphins and Protect the Panther – have been dropping in recent years. So have plates supporting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins.

Specialty plates cost about $25 a year on top of regular plate and registration fees, with the money generally going toward academic programs at the schools.

Some say the price is low enough for people to absorb, even during tough times.

"Maybe they won't go buy an RV to tailgate [school sporting events], but they'll still buy a license plate and T-shirt," Eiler said. "I think people find great comfort around college athletics. For seven or eight Saturdays in the fall, they get away from the job search or mortgage payment. It's a nice break from reality, especially if the team is winning."

That's been the case at the University of Florida, which was the third highest-selling plate in the state four years ago. But after twice winning national championships in both football and basketball, the school's plates have been resting comfortably at No. 1. So far in 2009, sales are up 7 percent from a year ago.

"I think there's a certain aspect of momentum at play," said Dan Williams, UF's marketing director.

Sales of the Florida Atlantic University license plate have risen 14 percent since the school won its first two bowl games in 2007 and 2008. The university also has made efforts in the past few years to market the plates, putting inserts in mailings and donor thank-you notes, said Jennifer Dubuque, assistant vice president for advancement at FAU.

Armand Grossman, who graduated from FAU in 1966, displays his pride on his vehicles. On his Corvette is a school plate personalized with the letters "FAU." His Mercedes has an FAU plate personalized with "ALUM 1."

"I'll be driving and people will give me a thumbs-up and cheer, 'FAU!' " said Grossman, now a member of FAU's Board of Trustees.


The University of South Florida has seen the biggest growth in plates in recent years, with sales up 44 percent from two years ago.

One reason may be that USF's football team has enjoyed three consecutive winning seasons. But a bigger incentive was the USF Alumni Association's decision to waive the cost for the first year, said John Harper, executive director of the alumni group. Fans then pick up the cost when they renew.

"It's an excellent branding device," Harper said. "It helps show pride and loyalty to everyone."

Advertising & Design / FAU 2006
Marketing / GEORGETOWN 2015
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Re: School license plates in the state of Florida

Good news!

I do see more FAU plates around and more owl head stickers as well.

The momentum is building. The stadium will help tremendously.

I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick @$$ and I'm out of bubble gum.

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Re: School license plates in the state of Florida

I wish we would take a hint from USF and do the same thing

Florida Atlantic University Owls
2007 Sun Belt Football Champions 2007 New Orleans Bowl Champions 2008 Motor City Bowl Champions 2011 Sun Belt Basketball Champions No Bowls without Owls
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Re: School license plates in the state of Florida

I think Florida A&M University was doing the same thing USF is doing now.
It works really well because you don't have to pay the 1st year.
After that, it's only $25 extra per year.
It's not like you're wasting your money. The money goes back to the school and you get to show your pride.

Advertising & Design / FAU 2006
Marketing / GEORGETOWN 2015
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Re: School license plates in the state of Florida

I wonder if we get all of the Harbor Branch Plates counted in the mix. Its Kind of funny that the Save the Dolphins Whales and ect funding now goes to FAU!! That should send our numbers up.
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Re: School license plates in the state of Florida

I don't think they get counted in with our numbers do they?  I mean we can say they are all FAU but I doubt most people that are trying to save the dolphins care about FAU

Florida Atlantic University Owls
2007 Sun Belt Football Champions 2007 New Orleans Bowl Champions 2008 Motor City Bowl Champions 2011 Sun Belt Basketball Champions No Bowls without Owls
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Re: School license plates in the state of Florida

i just ordered my plate, i should have in a few more weeks and i will be showing it off up here in tally, of course i did have to mix my FAU and FSU spirit by putting "NOWLE" on it, if you look closely it contains both "nole" and "owl"
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