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IS MLB FAILING TO CASH IN ON PERCEIVED BOON SEASON?
Published August 19, 1998
So far this season, "it's hard to see how" the chase for MLB's single-season HR record "has given baseball a big bang," according to USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand in a Sports cover story. While MLB attendance is up 10% overall, it is up "only" 1% excluding the two expansion clubs. Hiestand adds that attendance "might not be up at all" without the Beanie Baby giveaways. In addition, MLB's national ratings are "virtually unchanged" from '97. But Logo Athletic VP Eddie White says that Logo's MLB sales are up 12% and adds, "This may be the first year since the 1994 strike that we see an increase in (baseball sales)." In Logo clothing identified with specific players, Ken Griffey Jr. "accounts for half of all sales," with Mark McGwire second at 21% and Sammy Sosa in a single-digit eighth place. Pro Player says that Griffey has been that company's top-seller for three years. This season, Griffey products have produced retail sales of "about" $500,000, with McGwire second at $400,000. But Griffey products last year generated sales of $750,000 (USA TODAY, 8/19). In Chicago, Bernie Lincicome writes that MLB "is blessed" to have the HR record chase. Lincicome: "In a baseball season without compelling pennant races, or any pennant races at all to speak of, there is a daily reason to check in on the game" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/19).