SBJ/June 4 - 10, 2001/No Topic Name

Vick has Falcons fans buzzing, stores ordering

Michael Vick's march on Atlanta continues.

Four Atlanta area sporting goods retailers — Champs, Athlete's Foot, Pro Image and Walter's — have together ordered more than 30,000 No. 7 Michael Vick jerseys in the six weeks since the Falcons took him with the first pick of the NFL draft. Stores have ordered about 23,000 adult sizes and 7,000 youth sizes.

Atlanta retailers ordered 9,600 jerseys for Aug. 15 delivery in anticipation of a preseason spike in fan interest. Vick replica jerseys sell for $44.99 on the Falcons' Web site.

Orders for Vick jerseys put him on pace with two other recent No. 1 choices: Peyton Manning in 1998 and Keyshawn Johnson in 1996. That's testimony to the marketing effect that a No. 1 pick can have when he plays a marquee skill position.

"Here we are, more than a month removed from draft day, and we're still seeing evidence of this buzz," said Rob Jackson, vice president of marketing and sales for the Falcons. "The jersey orders tell you that [merchants] expect to see that interest continue to build. It's been a tremendous boost for us."

Though the Falcons played in the Super Bowl three seasons ago, their merchandise sales have lagged. Falcons goods ranked in the bottom third of all teams in licensed-product sales last season. The Falcons have hit the top 10 only once in the last 10 years.

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Atlanta Falcons, NFL

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