The recent rise of Jeremy Lin has been tremendously exciting for fans, but it has also been tremendously stressful for retailers trying to keep up with the the sudden demand for merchandise. Bill Littlefield spoke with Rich Lampmann of Modell’s Sporting Goods about keeping all-things-Lin in stock.
“The first time we brought any product Jeremy Lin-related in was the Friday before the Knicks played the Lakers,” he said. “Ever since it’s been a full week of product coming in and going right out, and us trying to keep up with demand.”
Knicks’ merchandise saw similar spikes when the team added two All-Star caliber players – Amar’e Stoudemire during free agency in July 2010, and Carmelo Anthony through a mid-season trade with Denver last February.
“When Stoudemire came on and then when Anthony came on, it was a rush at that point because you have an announcement, and the deal is official,” Lampmann said. “The fans hear about it, and they know the big players are coming, and they want to be the first to get the gear.”
However, Lampmann said that the recent surge in demand for Jeremy Lin merchandise is more surprising.
“Looking at what has happened this month, he’s actually outpaced both of those guys in terms of the initial push from when they came into town.”
The unexpected explosion in popularity was not the only reason that Modell’s had problems meeting the demand for Lin merchandise. The timing of the events also played a part.
“It was an interesting dynamic coming off of a Giants Super Bowl win,” said Lampmann. “A lot of Giants merchandise is in that royal blue color, as well as the Rangers, who are doing well right now. So just in terms of having enough supply of product to be able to print Jeremy Lin name and numbers on, that was a rush in itself.”
The demand for Lin Jerseys is not limited to New York or even to Knicks fans. There are people who don’t fall into either group that still want Lin-related merchandise.
“We have had customers coming into some of our New York City stores buying 30, 40, 50 shirts at a clip. There was a girl in one of our stores the other day that was texting back to family and friends asking who needed what, and gathering a shipment that she was going to send back to Taiwan.”