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NFL LOOKS TO RETAIL SEASON; PATRIOTS SEEN AS HOT NEW LOOK
Published July 18, 1995
The '95-96 selling season for NFL-licensed merchandise is examined by Dana Parker of NSGA's RETAIL FOCUS. Parker surveyed retailers and manufacturers on the coming season, and "although the market is becoming increasingly regionalized ... overall bookings are up and prospects look bright." The Cowboys and 49ers remain on top in popularity and most agree they are the only teams with national appeal. But "almost everyone agrees" that 1995's "number three team appears to be the Patriots." Rich Heller at Champion Products said Drew Bledsoe is "the hottest single player in replicas." Of the rookies, Bengals' KiJana Carter is "creating the most excitement." Among new and relocated teams, the expansion Panthers and Jaguars are creating little interest except "in their home markets," and sales of St. Louis Rams gear "are being hampered by a late start plus the fact they haven't changed colors." Some retailers predict a new trend away from authentic, to "a gradual shift of interest to the fashion side." Industry experts also cite the work stoppages in baseball and hockey as well as Reebok's entry into the NFL- licensed market as a boost to the NFL. Steve Diamond of Gaylan's Trading Co. in Indiana said Reebok brings "some different looks ... They have the potential to do real well" (RETAIL FOCUS, 7/95). NINERS THROW AWAY "THROWBACKS": The 49ers have shelved plans to wear a special jersey during the upcoming season, replacing their '55-replica "throwback" jersey with their standard gold and red look. 49ers President Carmen Policy said they had discussed a special uniform, but were talked out of the idea by the league. Policy said that team will "put together a 50th anniversary uniform for 1996 and will gain help in designing it from NFL Properties, players and TV networks" (Clark Judge, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/18). LOGO MADNESS: USA TODAY's "In Focus" scrutinizes new logos for pro teams. Logo changes won't happen next season in baseball, since the strike has put a "hold" on all new looks. MLB Properties VP/Design Services Anne Occi: "The owners felt very strongly about not causing either our licensees, retailers or fans to have more additional costs or be stuck with inventory." The Astros logo change in '94 is profiled as the team has moved into the top 10 in MLB-licensed merchandise sales. Occi said that alternative uniforms and second and third caps "are where the tide in baseball is going" (Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY, 7/18).