New York, New England Retailers See Heavy Traffic In Rush For NFL Championship Gear
NFL Giants fans "snapped up T-shirts, hats and other merchandise proclaiming the team's NFC championship, in some cases minutes after the G-Men defeated the San Francisco 49ers to earn their fifth trip to the Super Bowl," according to Kathleen Lynn of the Bergen RECORD. N.Y.-based Modell's Sporting Goods CEO Mitch Modell said sales were "strong" at his stores, many of which opened at 5:00am ET yesterday. Dick's Sporting Goods, which "opened stores right after the game ended Sunday night, also reported healthy demand, especially for so-called locker room T-shirts and hats, which the players wear in the locker room after the game." Sporting goods stores had championship shirts "for each team printed in advance and ready to go before Sunday's game" (Bergen RECORD, 1/24). CRAIN's N.Y. BUSINESS noted Modell's "opened 28 of its local stores after the Giants' overtime victory ... with many fielding customers looking for NFC Championship locker room t-shirts and hats and Victor Cruz Cha-Cha-salsa t-shirts" until 1:00am. Modell's brought in "additional employees from as far as Philadelphia to help deal with the crush of interest in Big Blue gear." Stores by tomorrow "should be fully stocked with Super Bowl merchandise, including Patriots vs. Giants t-shirts" (CRAINSNEWYORK.com, 1/23). In Massachusetts, Rick Foster reports Patriots fans "wasted no time rushing retailers' doors for souvenir hats, shirts and other mementoes" after Sunday's AFC Championship win over the Ravens. One Dick's Sporting Goods location opened at 6:00am yesterday, and the store "was crowded early with excited fans scooping up" merchandise. The North Attleboro-based J.C. Penney location and the Patriots Pro Shop at Patriot Place "were also popular spots for shoppers reveling in the victory" (Attleboro SUN CHRONICLE, 1/24). Meanwhile, in Hartford, Janice Podsada notes store and factory owners said that with two teams "from next-door states, the Super Bowl matchup is a win-win in Connecticut for retailers and NFL gear manufacturers" (HARTFORD COURANT, 1/24).
LOVING THE SEQUEL: Modell appeared on Fox Business yesterday, and was asked by anchor David Asner if the outcome of the two championship games was the best possible scenario. Modell said, “I feel I am Don King, where you put two boxers in the ring and you can't lose. ... It is just great for the spirit of New England and New York. We had 300 people in our West 42nd Street flagship store last night cheering, clapping and yelling.” Modell said of having enough quantity to meet the demand, "We have printers all around the New York area, the New England area. We have 40 vans servicing our stores, getting shipments literally every 30 minutes.” When asked if the outcomes will affect businesses outside the Northeast, Modell said, “Absolutely. New England and the Giants can be sold all over the country. They are really national teams.” Modell: “We feel this is going to be stronger than 2008” (“Power & Money,” Fox Business, 1/23).