MLB, Legends team up on flagship store in New York
MLB has partnered with Legends on the design and construction of its first official league store, the MLB Flagship Store, which is slated to open next summer in midtown Manhattan.
Located at 1271 Avenue of the Americas — once known as the Time & Life Building when it housed publishing empire Time Inc., including Sports Illustrated — the store will be the league’s first permanent retail location in the United States. MLB has partnered with Legends to operate the stand-alone, 17,000-square-foot space, and Legends Project Development is overseeing the design and construction.
“It is significant in the sense that it’s going to be a great activation point for our brand, not only for baseball fans from around the country who are visiting or going to Yankees and Mets games, but also the international tourists and domestic tourists that will be coming through New York,” said Denis Nolan, MLB’s senior vice president, consumer products. “We think that the timing is perfect to do it, and we really have a top-end, really high-traffic space in Manhattan, a special location where we can do this.”
Discussions regarding opening a flagship store ramped up in the past three years. No plans are in the works to open similar MLB flagship stores nationwide. Though the design is in its early stages, the aim is to bring baseball to life with an engaging, refreshed feel to retail over two floors.
Shervin Mirhashemi, Legends president and CEO, said “building an iconic retail footprint in the United States’ most dynamic city, celebrating America’s greatest pastime, is a significant moment for our company. Off the strength of our deep experience in merchandise solutions, we are committed to creating an unparalleled shopping experience for baseball fans worldwide.”
MLB executives believe the location could not be more ideal. There will be large windows on three sides of the store, with its south side along the courtyard or plaza area.
“There is a unique renovated pedestrian plaza that is going to be there outside the store,” Nolan said. “So it’s really going to be a welcoming area that we hope to program multiple times throughout the year with MLB marketing initiatives going on at that time. The theme is going to be flexibility, so whatever is going on in that time period — be it Opening Day or Jackie Robinson Day — there is going to be, we hope, a real integrated marketing campaign within that space outside the store.”
The store will offer a wide assortment of officially licensed products for fans. Products available at the MLB Flagship Store will come from a full range of MLB licensees and highlight all 30 MLB clubs in addition to historical franchises in the Cooperstown Collection and authenticated game-used memorabilia. The store will also offer unique New York City products along with customization options.