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Volume 21 No. 17
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Nike expecting big numbers at NBA All-Star

From a licensing and merchandising view, this year’s NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles is a coming out party for Nike’s new NBA jersey rights, which began this season.

 

The Jumpman logo, denoting Nike’s luxury Jordan Brand, will be on All-Star Game jerseys for the first time, which is expected to produce a hefty retail bonus.

In their first season, the new Nike NBA jerseys are already worth celebrating. Despite a handful of the jerseys ripping on the court early, they’ve blown past Nike sales projections. Internal sales projections for the season have increased by between 10 and 20 percent, and sales are tracking now to finish significantly above Adidas’ best year selling NBA jerseys. Nike jerseys with hoodies have been impossible for retailers to keep in stock.

The Jumpman logo on All-Star Game jerseys is expected to drive strong sales.

L.A. has a history of being a great retail market for the All-Star Game. Putting aside the anomaly of the Las Vegas All-Star Game in 2007, L.A. has yielded the two best merchandise results, when it hosted in 2004 and 2011.

“Our expectations are very high,” said Chris Brennan, NBA senior vice president of sales development and retail marketing. A store inside the NBA Crossover attraction will feature an assortment of All-Star products from Jordan Brand, New Era, ’47 and other licensees.

Some Nike projections have the Jordan-branded All-Star Game jerseys selling four times the usual amount.

Jordan Brand will have a pop-up shop with player appearances. There also will be a Studio 23 store in Little Tokyo and a variety of footwear launches.

As ever, Nike will launch a variety of footwear at the All-Star Game, including special edition shoes for Kobe Bryant, Paul George, and LeBron James. Nike’s Converse brand will be offering L.A. Lakers and L.A. Clippers-themed Chuck Taylors priced at $150.

As part of Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba League,” Nike will host youth clinics throughout the city. Nike will be featuring endorser appearances throughout L.A., including at parks, at key retail accounts, and as pep rallies at California high school state playoff games.

L.A. has had among the best merchandise results at All-Star Games.

What’s a jersey without a cap hookup? New Era’s activation centers at its flagship store in L.A. Live will have customization available. New Era also is collaborating with a variety of brands for co-branded products, including Levi’s, Timberland and Bodega. As ever, New Era is marking the event with some limited run high-end caps, some ranging from $50 to $150. Other than the flagship store, retail activations and player appearances are planned at Lids, Foot Action and Fanzz stores.

Exclusive trading-card licensee Panini will have a “Trading Card Experience” at NBA Crossover, educating fans on how an NBA trading card is built. Various elements will showcase NBA trading cards that sell from $1.99 a pack to Panini’s Kobe Eminence product, which retails for $12,500.

Panini will also return with its NBA All-Star VIP Lounge for guests and partners that will include player appearances.