Jeter’s Milestone Hit is Producing a Run On Merchandise

July 13, 2011

Jeter’s Milestone Hit is Producing a Run On Merchandise

Since Saturday, $2.5 million to $3 million of products related to Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit have been sold by Steiner Sports, which has partnerships with Jeter and the Yankees.

“I thought this would be big, but it’s huge,” said Brandon Steiner, the company’s chairman, who likened the volume of Jeter sales to when the Yankees won the 2009 World Series. “For the last four or five months, people have been negative about him, so people were bursting for this.”

He said that the “beloved” aspect of Jeter’s popularity was lifting sales of the merchandise.

On Sunday night, Jeter signed about 1,000 items, mostly balls and photos, for Steiner, and he will sign more products, including commemorative bats, later this month after the Yankees return from a trip to play the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Steiner said the signing of items Sunday night had no bearing on Jeter’s decision to not play in the All-Star Game, which was announced Friday.

“We don’t play a role in his life where Derek risks anything in baseball to do something for us,” Steiner said. “It just took him an hour and a half.”

The demand for sales caused Steiner’s phone lines to crash three times Saturday, he said.

Steiner’s biggest sellers have been three commemorative bats. They cost $129.99, $199.99 (with game-used dirt) and $1,099.99 (with a Jeter autograph).

“They’re way over forecast,” Steiner said.

Eventually, Steiner will auction uniforms from other central players who played with Jeter on Saturday, and game-used balls, bases and one of the lineup cards. Steiner said he was still considering whether to auction one of the jerseys Jeter wore during the game or cut it into swatches for a limited edition collectible product. (Steiner Sports is also a vendor for sports memorabilia, including Jeter-related merchandise, from The New York Times and other companies. Steiner also said he has relationships with ESPN, the New York Post and the Daily News.)

In addition to Steiner’s sales, about $3 million in 3,000th-hit goods were sold at Yankee Stadium over the weekend.

Mitchell Modell, chief executive of Modell’s sporting goods chain, said T-shirts were leading sales at his stores, but he would not give sales figures.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “It’s like a mini-World Series. People are grabbing everything. We have so many different styles. We’ve already reordered.”

He said Jeter helped sales at the stores by hitting his home run early in Saturday afternoon’s game.

“This has been our second-biggest event besides the World Series, either 2009 or 2001,” Modell said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

Business has been very strong for the 24 Major League Baseball licensees that have produced 3,000th-hit products, including T-shirts, bats, balls, bobbleheads, cellphone skins and necklaces.

Executives from all the licensees were at the All-Star Game in Phoenix, “and they’re all walking around with strange smiles on their faces,” said Howard Smith, M.L.B.’s senior vice president for licensing.

“This has exceeded all our expectations,” added Smith, who also would not divulge overall sales figures. “Nobody has reported run-of-the-mill sales.”

Robust sales like those related to a milestone like Jeter’s usually last 48 to 72 hours, Smith said. “But this is exceeding normal hot markets,” he said.

He added: “I’ve seen every hot market since the ’98 home run chase and the Red Sox’ winning the World Series. This is amazing.”




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