SBJ/September 12-18, 2011/Facilities

Reebok store in works for Wells Fargo Center

Philadelphia sports fans will have more ways to complete their wardrobes in 2011.

Comcast-Spectacor has begun building a 4,800-square-foot Reebok-branded retail store in the Wells Fargo Center that will carry athletic wear and lifestyle apparel for the Flyers and the 76ers. The organization also is repurposing an existing 1,200-square-foot fan gear shop in the arena to become an official Flyers store for the apparel manufacturer ’47 Brand.

The Reebok store, which was formerly an outdoor sidewalk space, will open for limited business in late November. Sources familiar with the team valued the store’s construction at $2 million. The ’47 Brand store will be completed by the start of the NHL season.

During 76ers games, the Reebok store will convert its product offerings to showcase team apparel by Adidas, which is the NBA’s apparel partner and is a sister brand to Reebok. The Reebok store will be called the “Center Ice Fan Store Powered by Reebok” during Flyers games and the “On Court Fan Store Powered by Reebok” during 76ers games, and will be completed in January.

Sean Hennessy, general manager at Aramark, which oversees the stores at the Wells Fargo Center, Consol Energy Center and Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., said in-arena apparel sales between both the Flyers and 76ers are in the millions, and said he expects the new stores to boost sales by 25 percent.

“We were seeing that people are moving away from belly-up-type merchandise stands and wanting to go into stores and touch and feel the product,” said Peter Luukko, president and CEO of Comcast-Spectacor. “As this becomes more about fashion than just supporting your team, we wanted to have more [clothing] options for fans.”

Both stores came about because of separate, multiyear retail marketing partnerships that Comcast-Spectacor signed with Reebok and Twins Enterprise, which owns ’47 Brand. The NHL has allowed teams to sign local licensing deals since 1990, and the deals allow the manufacturers to sell at team-owned stores located within a team’s market. Sources familiar with the deals valued them in the mid-six-figure range.

Reebok, which is the league’s official apparel partner, can license products for all 30 clubs. Keith Leach, director of merchandising for Reebok, said the Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the new Winnipeg Jets are the only three teams to have separate team deals to build the in-arena stores.

“The Penguins are the type of model relationship we created last year,” Leach said. “It was a new arena, they had the Winter Classic, and it made a lot of sense. After the Flyers played [the Penguins] they came to us and said they’d be interested in doing something similar.”

Reebok opened its store in Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center in 2010, and the team has since signed local retail deals with apparel manufacturers ’47 Brand, G-III and Crons. Leach said Reebok is negotiating local deals with additional NHL teams but declined to say which.

“[The stores] allow us to constantly freshen our product line,” Leach said. “We can bring in graphics that are meaningful, like if it’s the playoffs or if a player is hot. We can work with the teams to customize.”

The Reebok store will carry a wide range of apparel, from jackets, polo shirts and special team-specific T-shirts and jerseys, to CCM Hockey apparel and novelty items made by league licensee Mitchell & Ness. The ’47 Brand store will carry jackets, sweatshirts, long- and short-sleeve T-shirts and hats.

“Hockey is a sport that becomes an overall lifestyle for people that play it,” Aramark’s Hennessy said. “I think people are looking for clothing that represents that lifestyle.”

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