Bruins and Blackhawks merchandise have been the top sellers during the playoffs
The Bruins-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final opens tonight, and the matchup of two Original Six teams has the NHL, its licensees and retailers optimistic even after the lockout-shortened season. “With a long series, I could easily see this being one of our top five (championship) hot markets," said NHL Exec VP/Marketing Brian Jennings. Aside from being the first Final matchup between original NHL franchises since '79, retailers and the league are reporting that both the Bruins and Blackhawks were not only the top sellers during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but sales for each team’s licensed goods are ahead of the same period during their recent Stanley Cup victories. The Bruins won the Cup in '11 with the Blackhawks claiming it the year before, and both teams at that time broke long droughts without a championship. But Fanatics.com reports that both teams are out performing their last run. Sales of Blackhawks-licensed gear have increased more than 200% compared to '10; while sales of Bruins-licensed goods have increased more than 300% from two years ago. "In the case of both teams, what you’re seeing is that after those earlier Cup runs, there are just a lot more fans on board, even before the final round," said Jennings, noting playoff per caps are up 12% over last year’s playoffs. Coming after a lockout cancelled 41% of regular-season games -- meaning there were no NHL games during the critical holiday sales period -- that is welcome news for NHL licensees and retailers. Fanatics.com’s five top-selling NHL products during the playoffs are all from NHL master apparel licensee Reebok. They are the Bruins Eastern Conference Champions gray T-shirt; the Bruins Eastern Conference Championship black T-shirt; the Blackhawks Western Conference Champions red T-shirt; the Bruins Conference Champions flex cap; and a Blackhawks Conference Champions gray T-shirt.
RETAILERS GETTING IN ON THE ACTION
: Retailers with Final programs include Dick’s Sporting Goods, which will host a fan event at its Lombard, Ill., store Saturday in conjunction with Game 2. It will include street teams, an organist and an autograph signing with former Blackhawks C Jeremy Roenick. Modell's is opening two pop-up locations in downtown Boston, exclusively selling Bruins and Stanley Cup Final merchandise
. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks will open a Stanley Cup merchandise kiosk in the Marriott Downtown on the Magnificent Mile tomorrow morning, which will remain open for the duration of the series. The team also for the first time will utilize a functional moving truck, like a food truck, that will travel to sponsors and local events on off days and will be in use on game days.