When Yulman Stadium, Tulane University’s brand new 30,000-seat stadium opened its doors on September 6, 2014, it generated big fanfare — literally. Single-game tickets for the home opener against Georgia Tech sold out in 14 minutes. Students picked up about 5,000 tickets, 40 percent of the entire university’s undergraduate and graduate enrollment.
Based on the New Orleans campus, Yulman replaced the Superdome as the home stadium of Tulane Green Wave football after 39 seasons at that venue, cutting the commute for fans while also creating a surge in school spirit.
To feed that incredible school spirit is the Tulane Green Wave Sports Shop, operated by Barnes & Noble College. Located adjacent to the stadium in the Wilson Athletics Center, the shop is conveniently located for students and alumni looking for great gear to support the Green Wave. “The store is beautiful, it’s a great location, and people have been really happy with it,” said Larry Jones, who manages the store as well as Tulane’s two campus bookstores for Barnes & Noble College.
The location is auspicious, but not original. “The third week after we opened, the team was out of town. We were in full gear — organizing the merchandise, evaluating layout, installing alarms — when the athletic department moved us to the other side of the building,” Jones recalls. “We didn’t have a lot of time, so we had to move quickly. We built the store and opened it in two weeks. The only thing we didn’t do is run the wiring — we left that to the professionals!” Despite the additional work, Jones acknowledges the move was worth it. “Actually, it turned out to be a much better location for us. It’s larger and has an outside entrance and better access to the stadium.”
Before Barnes & Noble College took over its management, the athletics shop had been operated by Tulane, which sold merchandise at games and online. “We did well for what we were, but we weren’t going to be able to grow,” says Brandon Macneill, Tulane’s Executive Associate Athletics Director. “When the Yulman Stadium opened, we wanted to take the shop to another level — and we knew that level required a significant commitment and service.”
Because of Tulane’s successful relationship with Barnes & Noble College, there was little doubt who would manage the Green Wave Sports Shop. “We had enjoyed a tremendous partnership with Barnes & Noble for years with our bookstores, and it just made such sense to partner with them on this, too,” Macneill says.
Barnes & Noble College has operated the Tulane University bookstores since — the uptown campus bookstore located in the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life and the medical bookstore housed on the first floor of the medical school — since 1990. The bookstores offer textbooks, the latest offerings from Tulane authors and other popular reading materials, as well as Tulane apparel, gear and gifts.
As the official store of Tulane University Athletics, the Green Wave Sports Shop offers a large collection of Tulane apparel, including jerseys, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and more. For those who can’t come to the shop, the shop comes to them. “We have a trailer in the plaza outside the football stadium selling to students and fans,” says Jones. “We also have an outpost in the stadium’s Glazer Club and a store at the main gate of the baseball stadium. There are plenty of opportunities to purchase gear.”
When the Green Wave Sports Shop originally opened, the first order of business was transporting some of the gear from the bookstore to the shop. “That was definitely a challenge. We had two weeks to bring the merchandise from the bookstore about six blocks away and open the store,” Jones remembers. “How do you move the merchandise? We ended up buying a golf cart and big rolling buckets to move everything. Then, we were told we couldn’t drive it on the main street, which raised more questions: Where could we drive the golf cart — who could drive it?” Somehow, all was good to go by the first game.”
“Opening a stadium and athletics shop is going to be full of challenges — no matter how prepared you are,” Tulane’s Macneill says. “We all faced challenges, but Barnes & Noble made it look smooth, made us look very professional. I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.”