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Why is it so difficult to buy a Candace Parker jersey? How a new WNBA retail strategy can change 25 years of fan frustration – the athletic

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If you search the website of online sports retail giant Fanatic for the NHL extension Seattle Kraken, it returns 700 articles.

If you run a Fanatics search for defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm, you get 77 items.

The Kraken will play its first regular season game on October 12. The Storm has won four championships since its founding in 2000.

Welcome to the retail reality of the WNBA, where clothing and merchandise for the world’s best women’s basketball league and the world’s best female players have been for the most part an afterthought despite obvious demand.

But, make progress! A day after the WNBA’s ongoing merchandising struggle reached the pages of the New York Times, the league announcement a nationwide retail distribution agreement with Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Whether it’s coincidence or damage control timing, it’s a step toward solving a problem (or outsourcing) that has plagued the WNBA since its inception: its jerseys and other clothing and merchandise are often not easily found in stores, and sometimes not even at games or online. And sometimes star player jerseys and men’s and children’s items aren’t available, a critical issue for a league that wants to expand its fan base and increase revenue.

The W, which is celebrating its 25th season and good numbers on television, began its 2021 playoffs on September 23, the same day its deal with Dick’s Sporting Goods began.


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