NBA Opens New Official Store On Fifth Avenue, Though Far Smaller Than Initial Location
Thirteen years ago during a lockout, the NBA opened a store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to sell licensed products and showcase its brand. Friday, in the midst of another lockout, the league opened another NBA Store on Fifth Avenue, five blocks south of the initial location. At just 6,000 square feet, it is some 29,000 square smaller than the original location, which included a basketball court, a scoreboard suspended from the ceiling and a life-sized Shaquille 0’Neal bobblehead. The original NBA Store closed on Feb. 13 after the league said the rates to renew its lease were not acceptable to the league. Friday, with almost no promotion, 25 fans were waiting on the sidewalk when the store opened at 10:00am ET. “I shopped at the other store half a dozen times in the last couple of years and I was just curious to see what the new place looked like,” said Daniel Weiss of Manhattan, enough of Nets fan that he was wearing a Nets wind shirt, cap and jersey, one of a dozen he owns. Weiss was one of the first to enter the store when it opened at a few minutes after 10:00am.
GOING INSIDE THE STORE: At least on its opening day, the league’s new emporium had an unfinished floor and little in the way of merchandising. Since the business model in this store was shifted to one where master NBA apparel provider adidas took the financial responsibility for the store, it seemed odd to find a shoe rack in the back of the store with 30 different models from Nike, Converse and Reebok, but none from adidas. However, the store had the requisite amount of licensed apparel, jerseys hoodies, T-shirts and caps. One person waiting outside the store commented the mannequin garbed in a Knicks uniform was the only place in town one could find a Knick in uniform. Women’s and kids apparel also had their own areas within the store. Outside of apparel, the store has hard goods ranging from a $5 pack of NBA playing cards to a $1,400 autographed and framed photo of Michael Jordan, airborne during a slam-dunk contest.
OPENING IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: The league is calling the store that opened today a temporary location, but one it wanted open in time to take advantage of holiday sales. NBA fans should hope that the recent optimism surrounding ongoing CBA negotiations is well founded. The first NBA Store opened in September ‘98 during a bitter lockout that was not settled until January ‘99 and forced the usual 82-game season to be curtailed 50 games and the cancellation of that year’s NBA All-Star Game.