The life of a celebrity: pampered, well fed, screaming fans, numerous photos and events. Such is the life of an SEC mascot. These animals are worth millions to their respective schools. Data by Deadspin shows that live mascots drive incremental revenue and brand equity, possibly because they are “beloved to a degree that other mascots are not.” Plenty of articles detail mascot history or share pictures, but let’s look at it from a competitive angle: Do SEC Schools with live mascots perform better than schools without real animals?
WHICH TEAMS HAVE REAL ANIMALS?
Only 5 of 14 schools rely solely on costumed mascots. Here’s the breakdown:
Schools Without Live Mascots
- University of Florida (No, Albert is not real. Nonetheless, this video is cool. Spoiler: Paul Simon + gators)
- Ole Miss
SEC School With Live Mascots
- Tennessee (Smokey)
- LSU (Mike)
- Georgia (Uga)
- Auburn (War Eagle)
- Texas A&M (Reveille)
- Arkansas (Tusk)
- South Carolina (Sir Big Spur)
- Mississippi State (Bully)
- Kentucky (Wildcats *do not appear at home games)
ANIMALS VS. COSTUMES
Considering that over half of the SEC uses real mascots, it’s surprising that schools with only costumed mascots have more National Titles. Thanks in large part to Bama’s 15. Regarding SEC championships, the team with the most (Florida, 7) is also a school without a live mascot.
*SB Nation looked at schools with 100 or more wins from 2003 – 2013. The SEC had 5 schools that made the cut. These schools were grouped based on type of mascot and compared above.
DO TEAMS WITH ANIMALS WIN MORE?
No. Costumed mascots have more National Championships and an equal number of SEC titles. Total wins since 2003 isn’t enough to make the pro-animal argument and raises questions about quality opponents and ‘what if both schools have live mascots?’
In closing, if Alabama had an elephant like Tufts University, then one could argue that live animals produce more team spirit and perhaps help SEC teams to win. But that is not the case. Which real or costumed mascot is your favorite? Do you have a picture with your team’s mascot? Share images with GDR on Twitter @GameDayRepublic #SECMascots
* Disclaimer: Article does not intend to take position on the ethics of live, animal mascots