Giants fan Arlen Delacrus shops for Giants merchandise at Modells in Paramus.
Giants fan Arlen Delacrus shops for Giants merchandise at Modells in Paramus.
Posted: Wednesday January 25, 2012, 2:25 PM
Big Blue Wear: Giants fans on the hunt for team gear ahead of Super Bowl XLVI
By KATHLEEN LYNN of The Record

Giants fans snapped up T-shirts, hats and other merchandise proclaiming the team's NFC championship, in some cases minutes after the G-Men defeated the San Francisco 49ers to earn their fifth trip to the Super Bowl.

Sales were "strong" at Modell's Sporting Goods, according to Mitchell Modell, CEO of the New York City-based chain, which opened many of its stores at 5 a.m. Monday. Dick's Sporting Goods, which opened stores right after the game ended Sunday night, also reported healthy demand, especially for so-called locker room T-shirts and hats, which the players wear in the locker room after the game.

Modell said the sales boost is especially welcome in January, traditionally a slow time in retail - after the holidays and before shoppers start looking for spring merchandise.

"It's 'plus' business that you never bank on," Modell said. He predicted that the Super Bowl will be good for other North Jersey businesses, including caterers, bars and even appliance stores, for the fans who'll decide they need a new flat-screen to watch the Giants take on the New England Patriots Feb. 5 in Indianapolis.

Fans spend about $2.9 billion a year on National Football League merchandise, according to Ira Mayer of the Licensing Letter, a trade publication. Spending dropped during the tough economic times of the past few years, but has begun to rebound as the economy gets stronger, he said.

"Sports never goes out of style," Mayer said.

Sporting goods stores had championship shirts for each team printed in advance and ready to go before Sunday's game.

"You can't wait, or you'll never get it to the customers in time," Modell said. "Our customers expect it of us."

Jerry Copsinis, a marketing manager at Pittsburgh-based Dick's Sporting Goods, said staffers rushed to unpack the boxes and set out the T-shirts as soon as the game ended. The NFL and the Giants also sold the items on their websites. Prices start around $22 for a locker room T-shirt.

The pre-printed shirts that celebrate the losing team are typically donated to developing countries, Mayer said.

Bergen County Modell's locations:

165 Route 4 West and Forest Avenue
(201) 909-8855

Paramus II
651 Route 17 South
(201) 689-0620

191 Route 46W
(201) 291-7860

111 Interstate Shopping Center
(201) 327-2500

473 River Road
(201) 840-0033

Email: lynn@northjersey.com