SBJ/20100628/This Week's News

Blackhawks, Lakers winning at retail in afterglow of titles

After some of the highest TV ratings in years for their league championships involving some of their most passionate markets, both the NBA and NHL, along with their licensees, are crowing about the sales of championship-licensed product.

At the NHL, league officials said that two weeks after the Chicago Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup championship in 49 years, the hot market was tracking as one of their top three ever.  Licensees are in agreement.

Licensee cites “feeding frenzy”
for ‘Hawks gear.

“There’s a feeding frenzy for Blackhawks merchandise by fans and our retailers,” said John Killen, president and CEO of hard-goods licensee WinCraft. “It is our best Stanley Cup sales year ever, by at least double anything prior, and we’ve been an NHL licensee for 34 years.”

Added NHL licensing executive Brian Jennings, “If you look at what is being planned even for back-to-school, this looks like a championship that has legs.”

While repeat championships generally do not perform better sales than initial titles, NBA officials said the Lakers’ win over the Boston Celtics was yielding better sales than last year’s triumph over the Orlando Magic. Immediately after the Lakers won, the NBA’s online store had its biggest sales day ever, an increase of 46 percent from the comparable time in 2009. Combined sales from the NBA Store in New York and NBA.com were up 60 percent from last year. The final game at Staples Center produced what was said to be an NBA Finals retail per cap record of $22.28, and NBA Finals merchandise sales were up 86 percent over 2009.

Linda Choong, senior vice president of the NBA’s global retail development group, said it was   too early to determine how this year’s sales would compare to prior championship sales.

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