SBJ/January 24 - 30, 2005/Marketingsponsorship

Five players, four colors, two sports — one possible new trend?

The color of money in 2004 was powder blue, with the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony taking the top spot in individual jersey sales, according to totals compiled by SportScanInfo.

“Powder blue is the next teal,” said Tom O’Grady, chief branding officer of GamePlan Branding Group Inc., referring to the top-selling teal color of the former Charlotte Hornets franchise in the late 1980s. “The powder blue is a nice color palette, especially when you put it on an engaging player on a team that is on the upswing.”

Anthony’s Swingman style jersey generated more than $14 million in sales last year, according to the SportScan data, topping an Atlanta Falcons/Michael Vick jersey that brought more than $12 million in sales. Jerseys of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James fill six of the top 20 spots across all sports. Sales of those six James styles account for $43 million, tops for any one athlete. SportScan tracks industry jersey sales in 13,000 U.S. retail stores. While it does not include in-venue or online sales, and sales at Champs Sports and Foot Locker stores aren’trepresented, the totals provides a snapshot of the how fashion helps drive jersey sales.

The NBA and NFL hold all 20 spots of the top-20 ranking across all sports. Major League Baseball doesn’t crack the list until a New York Yankees replica home jersey appears at No. 61. The NHL’s top-selling jersey is a Minnesota Wild replica red jersey; it didn’t register among the top 100 overall.

The black replica jersey of Philadelphia Eagles star Terrell Owens came in at No. 4 overall, but there are signs that black is losing its reputation as a fashion statement in sports uniforms.

“Certain teams like the Oakland Raiders and the Chicago Bulls will

“Powder blue is the next teal.”
— Tom O’Grady, chief branding officer, GamePlan Branding Group Inc.
always have black in their uniforms, but we found that it was getting monotonous and homogenized,” said Sal LaRocca, senior vice president of global merchandising for the NBA. “And the heavy graphic [logo] look is out, with teams looking for a timeless, classic look that in five years will still have appeal.”

The experts expect that Anthony’s powder blue jersey will continue to sell throughout 2005, but they added that star power still pulls sales along with any prevailing fashion trends.

“The light blue will sell for a few years, but fashion is

See also:
A look at other top-selling jerseys of 2004
fickle,” said O’Grady, whose company’s recent designs include the Charlotte Bobcats uniforms and those of the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul. O’Grady is the former creative director of the NBA. “You will see a big move toward Shaq in Miami,” he said, “and the Lakers’ never go out of fashion.”

Neither does the No. 23 jersey of Michael Jordan, which ranked as the 19th best-selling jersey despite that fact that Jordan retired after the 2002-03 season.

“He’s the exception to every rule,” O’Grady said. “He will never go out of style.”

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