Fans clamor for Blackhawks merchandise before the team's Stanley Cup victory rally.
Regardless of the reason, the “cool factor” of the Chicago Blackhawks’ brand is translating into eye-popping apparel sales numbers after the team’s most recent Stanley Cup win.
Sales of official Stanley Cup Final gear more than doubled through the first week of sales this year, compared with the 2014 series between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers, according to the National Hockey League.
Blackhawks championship gear also has outperformed 2013. The league reports that sales are up 20 percent over the team’s last Cup win—a rare increase for a fan base that snapped up so much championship gear less than 24 months ago.
“Typically, for a team that’s had multiple wins in a finite grouping of years, retailers will plan that business will be down a little because of that sales line flattening out, maybe some point of saturation,” said Jim Haskins, the NHL’s group vice president of consumer products licensing. This year’s increase “showcases this idea of being a national team.”
Haskins said the growth has not been purely from Chicagoans buying more gear, but also from new customers outside the region who may not even be hockey fans. Sales at the NHL’s official online store increased along with sales at Chicago retail centers. The web sales were up 53 percent compared with the week after the 2013 Stanley Cup win and 68 percent compared with the 2010 title.
“There really seem to be these outer layers that are kind of being hit now,” Haskins said.
Fan sales at big-box retailers also had a major boost compared with the last time the Hawks won, thanks in part to bigger orders to those stores. The NHL said sales at retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and Costco were up 53 percent compared with the 2013 Cup win.
“The atmosphere in the stores has been electric,” Stephen Binkley, Sports Authority executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “The response from fans to our official champions gear and merchandise has surpassed our expectations.”
KEEPING UP WITH DEMAND
Locally, even a wealth of data from two years ago that was relied on to predict customer demand was not enough to allow those printing the championship gear to keep pace with the appetite for it.
Ron Weiss, owner of Lincoln Square-based screen printer Shirts Our Business, said he acted as both manufacturer and retailer last week, with customers picking up shirts directly from his facility.
Normally, the handfuls of official licensees of NHL apparel use certified subcontractor apparel makers in town to print the clothing before distributing it to major retailers. But this year, “there weren’t enough presses in the Chicago area. Some of the product Reebok had was (made) in Milwaukee,” Weiss said.
Aside from all the strong sales numbers, the truest sign of the overwhelming scramble for Hawks gear may be the amount of counterfeit apparel on the market.
Federal agents said late last week that they had seized more than 4,350 counterfeit NHL jerseys, hats and other souvenirs worth an estimated $181,215 during the Stanley Cup Final series and the Blackhawks’ victory parade and rally.
Ecker, Danny. (2015, June 22). Blackhawks now a 'national team' in apparel sales. Retrieved from http://chicagobusiness.com/article/20150622/BLOGS04/15sales?CS0629990/blackhawks-now-a-national-team-in-apparel-Flag=5158308667
Huge Gains The Past Few Years in Blackhawks Apparel
Wow. A ‘national team’ in the NHL apparel world. That’s what people are saying about the popularity of Chicago Blackhawks apparel. It’s not really that difficult to figure out if you think about it. 3 Stanley Cups in 6 years is a pretty good start. One of the best front offices in all sports.
The Logo Is The Key To The Popularity Of Blackhawks Apparel
The Indian head logo. All those different colors and the precision it takes to make it look just right translates into very popular Blackhawks apparel. Revered as one of the best in the NHL and all sports. A marketing person’s dream. The logo, the history and the players that they have make it easy to see why this is happening.
Some of the best in sports. They are loud at the United Center and travel like no other fan base. We learned this when some teams tried to ban Chicago Blackhawks apparel for playoff games. They are all over the world now and just like the fans in Chicago they also want to be able to show their support. So you mix together the Cups, management, the Indian head, the players and the fans……that leads to some of the most desirable NHL fan apparel anywhere.
Who’s Buying All This Blackhawks Apparel?
I posted a blog a few weeks back about who is actually buying all these authentic NHL jerseys, the hats, T-Shirts, ect. Most people tend to think just men but that is so far from the truth now. You see more and more women and kids wanting to show their support.
This is good for sales because the kids are the key to the next generation of the NHL fan base. They are the ones that will teach their kids how to be a great fan. Feel free to look around more at the Hockey Fan Store and be sure to let us know what you think. Check out the fan store for all your Blackhawks needs.
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