University of Florida Celebrates Tom Petty Day with Apparel Collection Benefitting Charity
The University of Florida is celebrating another Gainesville icon—Tom Petty—through a collaborative merchandise capsule benefitting two nonprofits.
The Tom Petty x Florida collection just debuted on the Tom Petty store, as well as at the University of Florida bookstore and online. There will also be a pop-up store on site when the Gators face off against SEC rivals LSU on Oct. 15, which is being dubbed "Tom Petty Day" in Gainesville.
To commemorate Tom’s life, the University of Florida in his hometown of Gainesville has designated this year’s UF x LSU game as the first inaugural Tom Petty Day on October 15.
UF plans to celebrate Tom Petty Day for years to come. pic.twitter.com/Khhisxqk4I
— Tom Petty (@tompetty) October 2, 2022
The collection on the Tom Petty store includes two short sleeve T-shirts, one long sleeve T-shirt and a trucker hat. All of them use the Gators' blue and orange color scheme, but with pictures of Petty and his Heartbreakers logo. The women's tee even features the phrase "Florida Gators Won't Back Down," referencing one of Petty's most famous songs. It makes for a pretty good game day slogan, too.
So far, all but the women's tee is sold out.
Over on the Gators shop site, there's a similar T-shirt featuring a poster of Petty "Live from Gainesville," and using the team's color scheme; a blue and orange "Won't Back Down" T-shirt using the team and band logos, and a reference to Florida's stadium—known as "The Swamp."
“It is so incredible for everyone in the family that UF is honoring our dad in his hometown this way,” said Adria Petty, Tom Petty’s daughter, according to WCJB. “He loved the Gators and he loved Gainesville, he always talked jokingly about a doctorate from UF and he would have been totally blown away by all this. It is an added gift that we can give something back and provide much-needed resources to underserved communities in Gainesville.”
The Petty Estate will donate all proceeds from the apparel capsule to Kids Count, which supports childhood education; and Family Promise, which works to bring families out of homelessness.
The university also said that it would celebrate Petty in "years to come," meaning this might be the start of a new annual tradition, and there will be greater promotional merchandise drops down the road.
There will always be Gators fans showing up on game day, especially against a rival like LSU. But, adding a personal touch with the Petty family adds another element, which brings the university closer to its community, and attracts fans of something completely different. Adding in the nonprofit benefit makes it even more appealing for potential buyers, and reflects positively on the University of Florida and the Petty family alike.
You could also go a totally different route and center your college game day merchandise around a fictional character. That's up to you.