SBD/July 18, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Behind Red Sox' On-Field Struggles, Team Sees Single-Digit Decline In Merchandise Sales

Red Sox execs said jersey sales would be off if not for 100th anniversary gear
The Red Sox enter play today in 4th place in the AL East with a 46-45 record, and the team's performance is "undermining sales of team merchandise, especially the jerseys of popular players," according to Dan Adams of the BOSTON GLOBE. MLB merchandise licensee Majestic Athletic said that while sales of "jerseys for all of baseball combined are up nearly 40 percent so far this season, sales of Red Sox jerseys are declining at a single-digit pace." Red Sox official team store Manager Scott Saklad said that business "would be off this year but for sales of shirts and other gear commemorating the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park." He added that another explanation for soft sales "is because the Red Sox made few major acquisitions of new players who generate excitement among fans." Adams notes the "shine of last year's blockbuster acquisitions -- Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford -- has faded" as well. The Red Sox remain a "major draw among fans looking to buy baseball jerseys and other gear -- among the top five teams of merchandise sold by Majestic Athletic." Meanwhile, television ratings for Red Sox games "have remained surprisingly strong, with broadcaster NESN pulling in a 7.5 household rating and an average of 224,000 viewers per game." That is "not far off the team’s 7.7 rating at the midpoint last season." Inside the ballpark, fans are "spending more on food and beverages." However, Red Sox Exec VP & COO Sam Kennedy "acknowledged that jersey sales and other merchandise were 'probably flat'" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/18).
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