“For the most part

April 7, 2019 Sports

“For the most part, teams look to the future but on rare occasions, teams look to the past – and even make money on it.” (Source #9) Vintage jerseys have different names in each professional sports league, the NFL calls them “throwback”, the NHL calls them “vintage” and others call them “retro”. At the end of the day these are old jerseys brought back to commemorate the founding of a team, a great year where the team won the championship, or even just a cool color scheme and logo. Typically the teams were these vintage jerseys only on a limited basis, like 2 games per year in the NFL and 15 games in the NHL. However, even with their limited exposure in actual games there is a large marketing promotion created around them. The NBA even featured “Heritage Week” that involved every team wearing these retro jerseys. Precise sales data isn’t released by the different Leagues, but anecdotal evidence shows that these are very popular and sell well. For example, when the Pittsburg Steelers and Penguins both featured their “retro” jerseys in a short time frame, the Pittsburg Gazette newspaper reported that these items were the “two hardest to find” pieces of apparel in town and in addition there was a 3 to 5 week wait on NHL ; NFL websites to get them. Another instance was when the New York Jets had their “retro” uniform, sporting goods store Modell’s reported that they sold out almost immediately. The Licensing Letter noted that they believe the 2 main causes of the drop in retail sales of sports licensed products back in 2004 were: the NHL lockout and the “reduced sales of retro jerseys for street fashion.” So even with the $100 to $300 price tag of these items, sales don’t seem to be a problem. It’s important for teams to offer a varied mix of items for their fans to purchase and to create excitement and continue to drive sales, “retro” jerseys help to grab fans’ attention and get them to open their wallets. However, Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, warns even this successful “retro” concept can be overkill. “Changing uniforms all the time will create confusion and limit the impact of each change and it only makes sense when the old look still fits with the team today. If a team has moved, for example, using the old uniform is likely to raise unpleasant and distracting questions.” (Source #9)

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