SBD/May 13, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Johnny Jersey: Manziel Tops Among Individual NFL Uniform Sales Since Beginning Of April

Nike is offering Manziel jerseys in every version and size
Browns QB Johnny Manziel has the "best-selling jersey on NFLShop.com since April 1, topping the likes" of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, Broncos QB Peyton Manning and 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. The league "wouldn't say how many Manziel jerseys were sold, but it did say that the official website store sold nearly as many Manziel jerseys across draft weekend, from Thursday to Sunday," as it sold for Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, Colts QB Andrew Luck and free agent QB Tim Tebow during their draft weekends combined. Nike, which has an endorsement deal with Manziel and also is the league's official uniform supplier, is "offering Manziel jerseys in every version and size." The company also has made "special Manziel Browns shirts that read 'Johnny Football' and 'Manziel or Nothing' and a women's shirt that says 'My Manziel.'" Meanwhile, the "second-most popular jersey among rookies" has been that of Rams DE Michael Sam, "despite the fact Sam jerseys weren't available" until 9:00pm ET on Saturday (ESPN.com, 5/12). Klutch Sports Group Founder Rich Paul said that Manziel's play on the field will "dictate the potential off the field." Paul: "He knows that by focusing on the game, everything will take care of itself." Paul added, "As a Browns fan, I'm excited that Manziel is here. ... A player of his magnitude is great for the city and for the fans" (CLEVELAND.com, 5/12).

TOP FIVE NFL ROOKIE JERSEY SALES ON NFLSHOP.COM
RANK
PLAYER
1
Browns QB Johnny Manziel
2
Rams DE Michael Sam
3
Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney
4
Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater
5
Jaguars QB Blake Bortles
   

I AM SAM: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Scott Soshnick wrote Sam's jersey sales "may persuade companies to sign endorsement accords" with him. Sam's agent, Cameron Weiss, said, "Every firm wanted to take a wait-and-see approach. Now we have waited and are seeing." Fanatics Inc. said that the top three rookie sellers are "the same across its network of websites," which includes Fanatics.com and the online stores for the NFL, Browns and Rams. Weiss said that he is "evaluating endorsement offers to Sam, declining to give a timetable for his client to sign them" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/12). USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes Sam "made a stunning debut in the most popular sports league in the country." It "turns out NFL fans can't wait to buy -- and presumably wear -- the jersey of a gay man." Brennan: "Who would have predicted that?" (USA TODAY, 5/13). 
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