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R.I. company ready to print championship T-shirts if Patriots win

By Associated Press, 01/29/02

Rick Roth is one Rhode Islander who won't mind if has to spend Sunday night at work.

The owner of Mirror Image in Pawtucket has a contract to print Super Bowl T-shirts -- but that's only if the Patriots beat St. Louis.

The last time Roth had a Super Bowl T-shirt contract was 1997. That year, he started sending employees home early as the Green Bay Packers beat the Patriots, 35-to-21. He ended up shipping thousands of blank T-shirts back to the manufacturer.

But Roth is hoping this year will be different.

If the Patriots win, he and his employees will work through the night to print thousands of championship T-shirts.

If they lose, Roth will be out a couple thousand dollars. He's only compensated slightly for the ink and for the printing templates that declare New England as champions, The Providence Journal reported.

"It's very much like gambling," Roth said. "We're doing all this and maybe nothing will happen. It's very strange preparation."

Roth declined to say how much he makes on each T-shirt. But he said the Super Bowl contract is one of the biggest deals for the company, which prints 1.2 million shirts and has $2.5 million in sales annually.

Roth's company got a practice run of sorts last weekend as the company printed up AFC Championship T-shirts. The presses were running from 4:30 p.m. on Sunday to 11:30 Monday morning.

Trucks have already picked up the shirts for delivery in several retail stores. The AFC Championship shirts are the same ones the Patriots wore after their big win.

Only a small number of T-shirts are printed before the game for both teams and stashed in the locker rooms. The shirts earmarked for consumers are printed after a winner is declared.

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