The buzz around Deion Sanders has been incessant. And while some may view it as hype, the proof is in the pre-orders.
After elevating Jackson State University and the larger HBCU sports culture, Sanders announced his intentions to head to Boulder, Colorado, to coach for the University of Colorado. Now just a few games into the season, he’s taken a team with nearly dismal numbers to a 2-0 run.
Sanders, affectionately known as Coach Prime, has been flooded with brand and press opportunities for his success. But one has proven to be more than fruitful for the NFL Hall of Famer — a sunglasses deal he brokered before the 2023 college football season.
While still at Jackson State, Sanders was always on the field with fancy shades, leading Blenders Eyewear CEO Chase Fisher to reach out to the coach and see what they could cook up, reports CBS Sports. Sanders inked a deal to receive royalties from his Prime 21 sunglasses. And at the start of the season, he could be seen rocking the stylish frames everywhere.
That innocuous move upset one Colorado State coach, with Jay Norvell going on his weekly radio show to chastise Sanders for wearing his hat and sunglasses during interviews.
“When I talk to grownups, I take my hat and my glasses off. That’s what my mother taught me,” said Norvell.
Well Sanders has gotten the last laugh off of Norvell’s snarky comments, with pre-orders of his new Prime 21 sunglasses skyrocketing. Sanders has garnered an estimated $4.5 million in pre-order revenue, reports The Denver Gazette.
“We have officially broke the internet today. The timing of that couldn’t have been any better. That comment directed at sunglasses and then us releasing the [Sanders] collection today was peanut butter meets jelly. The timing was insane,” Fisher explained.
Always the consummate businessman, Sanders had already capitalized on the press, gifting more than 150 pairs to the Boulder community. After Norvell’s comments, Sanders went into overdrive, setting up interviews at the most popular sports shows and gifting the Blenders glasses to huge personalities like Stephen A. Smith, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Pat McAfee. And with Sanders on a hot streak on the field, sales are only expected to increase.
The sunglasses are priced at $67 each, a nod to Sanders’ birth year. So far, nearly 70,000 pairs have been pre-ordered. The glasses are expected to ship in December 2023, just in time for Bowl Season. And it looks like Norvell will be even more upset, as he’s surrounded by a sea of Prime 21 sunglass-wearing fans across the nation.
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Fisher said he’s in awe of the success of the brand and can’t wait to see what else they can do.
“I’ve never gotten more calls, emails, texts, in the last 24-48 hours and the last two weeks than I have in the last 11 years,” said Fisher.
You can order your Prime 21 Blenders sunglasses here.
Photo by Cecil Copeland/CSM/Shutterstock