SBD/April 24, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Creating A Buzz: Charlotte Hornets Merchandise Grows In Popularity

Recent speculation that Hornets name could return to Charlotte has fueled sales
The Charlotte Hornets logo and colors “are back in style, and retailers are cashing in on the retro-chic wave of nostalgia,” according to a front-page piece by Andrew Dunn of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The team's "jerseys, shirts and, most prominently, snapback hats" have seen a resurgence, and speculation in recent weeks that the name of Charlotte's former NBA team could return "has made the gear even hotter.” Concord, N.C.-based Hat Shack Assistant Store Manager Jason Hurley said the gear has "been on fire.” He said, “It flies off our shelves. It’s one of our top sellers.” EPM Communications President Ira Mayer, whose company regularly publishes a sports licensing report, said, “It’s kind of a retro trend.” He added that old team logos “are in demand,” and said, “People are starting to license them more heavily.” Charlotte-area Lids Manager Adrian Splawn said that he “had to have Charlotte Hornets hats rerouted to his store from others in the chain just to keep up.” Dunn notes national brands “are diving in as well,” as adidas “sells Charlotte Hornets shirts, including a throwback [Larry] Johnson shirt.” Following the team's move to New Orleans in '02, Hornets merchandise "largely disappeared from Charlotte shelves." However, the Hornets were sold to Tom Benson earlier this month, and his desire for a new team name that is more associated with New Orleans "has fueled more demand for the purple and teal" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/24).
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