NHL Enters Stanley Cup Final With Online Sales More Than Doubled Last Year's Playoffs
The Stanley Cup Final begins tonight, but the league’s licensees and retailers are already smiling. As would be expected, “if-win" orders for championship-licensed product heavily favor the Rangers. Still, the league has already seen sales more than double from last year during the playoffs on Shop.NHL.com. While all the counting is not done, the league is on track to have its best merchandise sales year ever, just a season and a half after a lockout cancelled 41.5% of the '12-13 campaign. "We’ve really seen our hot markets pop, especially in New York," said NHL VP/Consumer Products Marketing Dave McCarthy. Strong sales on the way to the championship round came in Chicago, where a “Blackhawks Nation” has coalesced after two championships in four years. Also contributing was a re-energized Montreal market, which had the only Canadian team in the playoffs. No team from Canada has won the Stanley Cup since the Canadiens in '93. Even so, NHL Consumers Products Group VP Jim Haskins said the league "saw a big bounce back across Canada." Haskins: "But our best story is an increased presence across North America, with some of the largest retailers." He cited a better retail presence at national retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Lids, which ran an in-store promo allowing fans to see themselves with a virtual playoff beard through in-store technology allowing bearded “selfies.” In the same vein, the NHL did some limited licensing with “Beard Gang” apparel. As for specific items, Fanatics.com reports that its top selling NHL items for the past days were conference champion locker room T-shirts from Majestic for both the Rangers and Kings, along with a Rangers conference championship cap from Reebok.
IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO TODAY: Licensees have issued product connecting the '94 Rangers Stanley Cup-winning team with the '14 club, especially with GIII’s Starter brand. Members of the '94 team will be making appearances at Modell’s and the NHL store in Manhattan. MSG’s “Dancing Larry” also will be making visits to Modell’s. A viewing party is planned for Manhattan’s Bryant Park tonight and two Rangers/Reebok-branded retail tents will feed the buying frenzy.