For the Hurricanes, this season has been the stuff of dreams.
Miami enters its final regular-season game against Pittsburgh on Friday having won 15 straight games dating back to last season. It’s clinched its first Coastal Division championship and will play for its first ACCtitle next week. The Hurricanes own the No. 3 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings, and earlier this month, Miami even had ESPN’s venerable “College GameDay” on its campus ahead of the Hurricanes’ 41-8 win over then-No. 3 Notre Dame.
When the Hurricanes travel to Charlotte on Dec. 2 to face Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, Miami expects to have a large contingent of fans at sold-out Bank of America Stadium. The school received more than 14,000 requests for tickets, well above the 5,000 tickets the school was allotted and the 2,500 additional tickets it purchased to sell fans.
When those Miami fans arrive in Charlotte, expect them to be decked out in plenty of Hurricanes gear, including merchandise featuring that Turnover Chain.
Harry Rothwell, the general manager of All Canes, a retail store specializing in Hurricanes merchandise located steps from Miami’s campus, says he and his staff have been overwhelmed trying to keep Turnover Chain merchandise in stock this season. Miami’s prime-time wins over Virginia Techand Notre Dame only helped fuel the frenzy.
“It’s been unprecedented,” Rothwell said. “I think at the end of the month, we’ll have the best November that we’ve had in the history of the store, and the store’s been there since 1959,” Rothwell said. “That’s pretty amazing. To have Virginia Tech and Notre Dame back-to-back, the excitement of being undefeated, the Turnover Chain, you have the perfect storm of fan appeal and merchandise sales.
“There are people coming in that I thought had changed their alliance, moved out of the country or died. You’ll always have your 25,000 or 35,000 fans that are there no matter what, but it’s the bandwagon fans, the guys that are loyal when we’re winning and playing for something that are taking it to the next level. … We’re busy all the time.”
According to an ESPN report, the online retailer Fanatics says sales of Hurricanes merchandise has risen 580 percent this year, and sales over the past two weeks were double the entire month of November last year.
In that same report, former Hurricanes linebacker DJ Williams, who owns the apparel line Dyme Lyfe, says the 2-year-old brand had its best month in October, generating more than $208,000 worth of sales. A few weeks later, when Miami hosted Notre Dame, Williams told ESPN Dyme Lyfe had $150,000 worth of sales that week alone.
The most popular items for Williams and Rothwell right now? Anything bearing a likeness of Miami’s Turnover Chain, which made its debut in Miami’s season opener against Bethune-Cookman and has become a viral sensation since. Dyme Lyfe sold a replica chain and now has a waiting list of customers who want to purchase more. Rothwell says anything in his store bearing the chain — shirts, hats, tumblers — usually sells out pretty quickly. And he only expects that to continue with the holiday season approaching.
The Miami Hurricanes' Turnover Chain originated when defensive coordinator Manny Diaz wanted to find a way to reward his players for getting interceptions and fumbles. The 36-inch, 2.5-kilogram, 10-karat gold Cuban link chain has since become a national phenomenon, helped by the Hurricanes' success on the football field in 2017. Several Miami players have had the honor of wearing the chain in the moments after their big defensive play. Here are photos of the Turnover Chain in all of its glory.
“I just got an order for Christmas ornaments with the chain on it,” Rothwell said. “It really has opened it up. … Everything has just worked out in the right direction for them.”
Fans and merchandise retailers aren’t the only ones hopping on the Hurricanes bandwagon.
J. Wakefield Brewing in Wynwood will be creating a new India pale ale called Turnover and hosting a release party for the beer Dec. 9. Meanwhile, Miami’s Sushi Maki, a chain with locations throughout South Florida, is now selling a Turnover Chain Roll. According to the chain’s Twitter feed, the roll will be available at its restaurants and Whole Foods through the end of the season.