September 04, 2009
Earlier this summer, we had a post about experiencing hockey on the cheap that discussed purchasing gear featuring recently traded players at deep discounts; for example, your $12 Jay Bouwmeester T-shirt, which is now down to $9.97.
What we didn't mention then was that these outdated shirts and jerseys are actually rather problematic for local retailers in NHL cities. So what happens when the local team basically blows up its roster in the offseason, seeing several prominent (and marketable) names leave for other franchises?
The Montreal Canadiens said goodbye to Alexei Kovalev, Saku Koivu(notes), Mike Komisarek(notes) and Christopher Higgins(notes) this summer, while welcoming Mike Cammalleri, Scott Gomez(notes) and Brian Gionta(notes) to the fold. Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette reports that this has actually affected local sports retailers, who are stuck with racks or merchandise from ex-Habs.
LogoSports in Montreal had T-shirts from former players down to $15 from a high of $30, and are now slashing them down to $10. From The Gazette:
While lamenting that $10 is below cost price, Araujo is philosophical about the vagaries of pro sports. "I thought those guys would be around for a while, especially Kovalev," Araujo said. "But that's the reality in sports nowadays. The loyalty is no longer there. It's all about money."
The story also mentions that sports merchandising has its gambles, too:
"I got a lot of Higgins 21s," Araujo lamented. "They were talking about him being our next captain."
That was then. A store specializing in pro sports fashion has to focus on now. "Maybe the Cammalleri will be a hot one," Araujo said. "He's half Italian and half Jewish. That's two good Montreal ethnic communities right there."
Sounds like this guy could retire if the Habs ever traded for a player named Shlomo Taglianetti ...
It's all just another reminder that the decisions that teams make in the offseason affect every single aspect of their business, from ticket sales to buying off the rack.