When the Bengals 2012 Training Camp was moved from Georgetown to downtown Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium, most chalked it up to a goodwill gesture to give more fans access to watching camp. While that is true, there is also a shrewd ulterior motive behind the move. Bengals merchandise manager, Monty Montgomery reports (via Steve Watkins of The Business Courier) that merchandise sales from 2011 to 2012 during Training Camp have "nearly tripled".
"We are amazed at how much sales have grown," Montgomery said.
Watkins expands on the growth in sales by saying:
He largely credited the move of training camp, which brought thousands of people to the stadium and surrounding practice fields. And many of those people were looking to buy merchandise, so fans streamed through the Pro Shop with money to spend.
Jerseys sales have been particularly hot, Montgomery said. That’s because Nike replaced Reebok as the NFL supplier of jerseys in the offseason and it changed the jersey styles. Many fans want the current style, causing Bengals’ jersey sales to soar to six times their year-ago level, Montgomery said. He even turned over 10 percent of the floor space in the Pro Shop for a new Nike Shop featuring the popular apparel company’s attire.
Bengals merchandise sales across the country have followed suit, soaring 169 percent over the past four weeks compared with the same time a year ago, said Matt Powell, analyst at Charlotte, N.C.-based sporting goods research and analysis firm SportsOneSource.
Now, the cynical Bengals fan will likely say "That's the Mike Brown we all know and love!" with a chuckle. There's so validity to that. Brown comes from a law and business background, so it's likely that he knows what he's doing. Credit him for doing some major infrastructural changes though, too, as this season seems to have a positive air to it.
One also must remember that the 2011 offseason was a disaster. The team was coming off of one of their most disappointing seasons in franchise history and were dealing with their quarterback making a trade demand. There were uninspired press conferences announcing the re-hiring of Marvin Lewis and other news surrounding the club and the roster looked pitiful at the time.
But, Lewis and the Bengals put together a solid 2011 campaign to the surprise of many. So, while the geographical move likely plays a huge role in the increase in sales, one has to look at the strong 2012 outlook for the club as a indicator for the increase in nationwide sales.