SBD/June 30, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NFL Lockout Watch, Day 111: NFL Merch Sales Starting To Feel Impact Of Lockout

Titans unable to sell jersey of draftee Jake Locker due to lockout
There are signs that the NFL lockout may be coming to an end in the next several weeks, but it has already created a “negative impact on the sports merchandise sales industry,” according to Bryan Mullen of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. It is not helping Nashville-area stores that the official jerseys of Titans draftee Jake Locker are "not available for sale because of a league rule related to the lockout.” Titans Exec VP/Administration Don MacLachlan was asked if the lockout is impacting the team’s merchandise sales, and he replied, “Right now, we’re analyzing everything and seeing how best to attack (merchandising) once we are ready to go again.” MacLachlan and Lance Bowers, an apparel buyer for Tennessee-based Sports Seasons, indicated that “current sales are in line with previous offseasons.” However, Mullen reported the “real test to the bottom line will begin shortly.” Fans’ interest in the NFL “increases as NFL training camps begin in late July,” but with “traditional camp in danger as the lockout drags on, the retail market is growing antsy.” Sports Seasons “decided to hold back its NFL orders in May, relying on the Titans merchandise it already had in stock.” Bowers said, “I know I could sell (new merchandise) now, but can I sell it in August or September if there is no agreement to end the lockout?” He added it “would be great” to have Locker jerseys to sell. MacLachlan said, “If we had Jake Locker jerseys out there … we’d have a significant uptick” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 6/29).

THE CHAMP IS HERE: In Green Bay, Tony Walter reported the exposure of championship wrestling belts generated by teams such as the Packers has “spiked some sales and helped professional wrestling creep into mainstream sports.” Their exposure in football was “first in pantomime” by Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and later on “full display by Rodgers and teammate Clay Matthews on a podium after the Super Bowl.” Tampa-based Wrestling Super Store CEO Steve Sandberg, whose company produced the belt on Rodgers' shoulder after Super Bowl XLV, said that his store "had an increase in sales after the Super Bowl and hopes to ride the wave that Rodgers provided.” The Mavericks also “displayed one of Sandberg’s belts after they won the NBA title” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 6/27).
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