NFL merchandisers looking toward future


The vast bulk of the pro football apparel of my childhood has long been discarded or boxed away, but what NFL fans and personnel wear still continues to interest me.

It’s nostalgia, I suppose. I associate the team apparel of the 1980s and 1990s with my formative years watching and learning the game.

I remember getting a Seahawks rain poncho ordered out of the Sears catalog as a gift, buying an Los Angeles Rams Starter snapback cap at a little mall sports store long gone. When I watch NFL Films highlights, I note the fashion of the day, how the uniforms have changed, what brand of jackets the coaches wore on the sidelines.

The Boston Globe published an interesting feature Tuesday about the current state of NFL merchandising. As you might imagine, the business of team apparel is big business.

Of particular note: league-approved vendors are already readying merchandise for 2014.

“The sports apparel industry has become exponentially more strategic and sophisticated,” Marty Brochstein, senior vice president for industry relations and information for the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, told the Globe.

Another tidbit that intrigued me: per the Globe, the NFL requires Nike to have enough blank jerseys on hand to meet demand in the event a player becomes especially popular. As the Globe noted, Colin Kaepernick’s 49ers jersey is one that quickly became a big-seller.

So who emerges to become a jersey-selling star this year?

I’m very intrigued by the Jets’ Geno Smith. Here’s why: if he wins the starting job and the Jets start well, his replica jerseys are going to sell very, very well in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area.

After all, it’s not as if the Tim Tebow green replicas are in style these days.