SBD/July 23, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Notoriety From Catfishing Scandal May Have Helped Manti Te'o's Jersey Sales

Chargers LB Manti Te’o leads all rookies in jersey sales since April 1, and SportsBusiness Journal’s Daniel Kaplan said the controversy surrounding Te’o’s fake girlfriend could be a contributing factor. Kaplan said, “Sometimes any news is good news, at least when it comes in this case to jersey sales.” People are buying the No. 50 jersey "because they're Charger fans, but also, he was in the news, he's maybe one of the most recognizable rookies out there.” The catfishing scandal is “all anybody talked about for two, three months" ("NFL AM," NFL Network, 7/22). ESPN’s Max Kellerman said, “There is a certain forgiveness, there's a certain sense that he was victimized, that he's not the perpetrator of anything bad. He’s now a famous guy who a lot of people have some sympathy for." ESPN's Marcellus Wiley added, "Let him go out there and win some games next year (and) see how many jerseys he sells" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 7/22).

QUARTERBACK CLUB: 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick leads all players in jersey sales on the heels of leading his team to Super Bowl XLVII, and Kaplan said now that Kaepernick "has had his success, people are buying the jerseys for the first time.” Kaplan noted Kaepernick also “plays for one of the all-time great brands in NFL history.” NFL Net’s Mark Kriegel said, "I understand Kaepernick being No. 1. He's charismatic, he has the look, there's the biceps kiss and all that stuff." But with Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill ranking sixth, Kriegel asked, “Is there some sort of Ryan Tannehill cult I don't know about?" Kaplan noted Dolphins fans have been “looking for a replacement for Dan Marino for decades,” and Tannehill had a "pretty darn good rookie season.” Kaplan: “If he is seen as the heir apparent to Marino … the South Florida fans are going to gobble up his jersey" (“NFL AM,” NFLN, 7/22). Meanwhile, Colts QB Andrew Luck comes in at only No. 19 despite a record-setting rookie season. Kellerman said Luck's "style of quarterbacking -- although he's capable of spectacular plays -- is more slow and steady" and could have resulted in his poor jersey sales. Wiley said Luck is a player that is "not advertised as a sexy football player stylistically speaking, but he's much better than given credit for" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 7/22).
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