SBD/December 21, 2010/Marketing and Sponsorship

A Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide For The Sports Fan In Your Life

If you still haven't bought most of your holiday gifts, finish reading this story and start shopping, because there are any number of intriguing gifts for sports lovers. For those whose ideal holiday is curling up with a good book or two, some of the better sports tomes include “Laker Girl,” Jeanie Buss’ memories of her years with the NBA’s glam franchise, which sells for $16.47 at Amazon.com. Veteran NFL fans will enjoy Pat Summerall’s tales of playing under two of the league’s most venerated coaches in “Giants: What I Learned About Life From Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry,” priced on Amazon at $17.13. A book about mascots demands more illustrations than the graphically challenged “Handbook of Mascots and Nicknames, Second Edition,” by Peter Fournier. Still, where else can you find the derivation of Scottsdale Community College’s Fighting Artichokes? The guide lists the nicknames and mascots of 1,500 U.S. senior colleges and universities, along with 740 U.S. junior and community colleges. As far as taking in the literature, kids can do their reading atop a bunk bed from Baseline, selling at The Sports Authority for $349.99, with your choice of MLB and NFL licensed indicia.

PREMIUM PRODUCTS
: Innovation where you least expect it is always appealing, and we’ve been marveling at WinCraft’s “premium pennants” for some time, since they are impervious to damage and reproduce color boldly. They’re offered in a wide variety of sizes and teams, and FootballFanatics.com has more than five pages of them ranging from $7.50 to $21.95. Those looking to augment the comfort of a holiday fire might quaff some Jets Uncorked, a 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon made for the team by vintner Marco DiGiulio. It’s at GarysWine.com for $27.99 a bottle. Other Jets-logoed products, not necessarily for oenophiles but certainly complementary, are Boelter Brands’ 12-ounce wine glasses -- $29.99 for a set of two -- and Great American Products’ $24.99 corkscrew and wine bottle stopper set. Both are available on NFLShop.com. Sweets are abundant during holiday time, so why not licensed sports treats? Mrs. Fields cookies, whose founder was once an A's bat girl, is now offering cookies and tins, including a Giants World Champions tin, ranging from $29.99 to $39.99 plus about $10 for shipping, at www.MrsFields.com.

STYLIN' AND PROFILIN': Headwear is often a holiday gift, and like much in fashion, the choice is usually one of form or function. Baseball fans in seasonal mode will enjoy the festive Holiday Cleanup caps from ’47 Brand, which carry an embroidered Santa hat over the MLB team logo on the front and an embroidered, bat-wielding Santa on the back. They are $18.99 at MLBShop.com. For those seeking warmth, along with an iPod hookup, there’s New Era’s Jack Knit Cap, with built-in speakers, said to obviate the need for headphones. It is $29.99 at NewEraCap.com or at the company’s flagship store in Manhattan.

STAYING WARM
: Traditional materials for winter outerwear like wool and down have given way in recent years to the less weighty and more water repellent fleece, a petrochemical derivative that has helped brands like The North Face and Patagonia rise to prominence. New Zealand’s Icebreaker differentiates itself by marketing products with similar styling, but made from 100% merino wool and “not just because New Zealand is a country of 4 million people and 40 million sheep," joked founder & CEO Jeremy Moon at the recent opening of company’s first N.Y. store. As a riposte, Icebreaker is offering RealFleece products, fashioned from brushed Merino wool. Their $200 Igloo hoodie looks warm, and is available at the company’s Soho store or at outdoor retailers like REI.

ON FROZEN POND
: A few licensed NHL items caught our eye. With the league’s New Year’s Day outdoor game being played at the home of the Steelers, WinCraft’s McArthur Towel subsidiary is offering a Winter Classic version of the “Terrible Towel’’ that started the tradition some 35 years ago during the NFL playoffs. It’s the first time they’ve been sold for a game that didn’t include the Steelers. They are $14.99 at Shop.NHL.com and at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in Pennsylvania. While NBC may have some rights issues with this offering, fans at the Winter Classic might want to record those memories on a Flip Video camera bearing an NHL team logo. They range from $149 to $229 at TheFlip.com. For a stocking stuffer, Panini has a trading-card offering combining sports and entertainment. It’s pop sensation Justin Bieber clutching the Stanley Cup. The card is part of the Donruss Hockey set at $2.99 for a pack. On eBay, the single card is fetching from $4 to $8.
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