MLB Basking In Merchandise Records Set During London Series
While '19 MLB All-Star Game licensed products are ubiquitous in Cleveland this week, the sports licensing community is abuzz with sales results from the recent Yankees-Red Sox two-game series in London. No matter how much licensed All-Star Game merchandise is sold in Cleveland, it will not exceed sales in London. MLB officials said the London series set merchandise sales records for an international MLB event for one day, and for a series at a single venue. By way of comparison, the London Series also surpassed three-day (Sunday-Tuesday) MLB All-Star merchandise sales figures dating back to the '08 edition at the old Yankee Stadium, which was the biggest ever. Pacing sales in London was apparel from New Era and 47 Brand. Legends handled the retail assignment for MLB licensees in London, administering four locations, including a 6,000-square foot “superstore” at London Stadium, accessible without a game ticket. Legends President Dan Smith noted that even items like baseball gloves were selling unexpectedly well. “We consulted all the industry experts beforehand and sales came in close to three times what they forecast,” he said. “Since 70% of the tickets sold were to people in the U.K., it was locals soaking up baseball probably more than Americans over there who miss baseball. But of course, those people bought a lot also."
NOT ALL ON THE SAME PAGE: The London Series has drawn a lot of commentary in the past week, including contrasting thoughts about the venture from the same newspaper. The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham wrote playing games in Europe is "here to stay" after last month's trip to the U.K. MLB displayed how it can "squeeze a ballpark into a soccer stadium" and that it could build items like bullpens and batting cages "from scratch." Abraham cites the Netherlands, Italy and France as countries likely to land games in the future. Meanwhile, longtime Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote playing games in Europe "makes zero sense." He noted it may be an "interesting 'event' but does nothing to make MLB a global game."