The logistics behind jersey sales are probably a little different than what most casual fans may expect.
Not every player has official jerseys produced and ready to be purchased in-store or online. Those are usually reserved for the team’s more popular players like quarterbacks, receivers, first-round picks and maybe the team’s best defender.
So when third-round defensive lineman Sam Hubbard’s family placed a bulk order of 164 custom Hubbard jerseys, it understandably made a pretty big wave.
“It’s unprecedented for us really for a player’s family to come and order that many jerseys all at once,” Bengals Pro Shop Merchandise Manager Monty Montague told Mike Dyer of WCPO. “So we were thrilled when they did, obviously. We are getting them produced as we speak, and they should be seeing them in the next couple of weeks.”
If this were to happen to any player on the Bengals, it makes sense as to why it’s Hubbard. His football history truly speaks for itself: He played his high school ball in Cincinnati and helped win a state championship there while growing up as a huge fan of the Bengals.
Hubbard then went to play at Ohio State, which obviously has a large fanbase in the Cincinnati area, and one of largest fan bases of any college team. He was a part of a national championship team there as well, and now he returns back to Cincinnati to begin his professional career.
Hubbard has managed to stay true to his Ohio roots throughout his football career, and now he will be playing for the team he grew up rooting for, and a team most of his family and friends grew up rooting for as well. Perhaps the Bengals should’ve expected the demand for Hubbard’s jersey to be as high as it is.
“To be honest I knew the order would be huge,” Hubbard’s sister Madison Hubbard said. “Everyone who has ever met Sam loves him.”
Hubbard’s family did receive a team discount on the jerseys that retail for $100 each.
“We carry blank jerseys available for customized jerseys for any player and other names,” Montague said. “They went heavy and deep into some of our sizes that we had to order some more from Nike and get them to our embellishment company.
“We are certainly hopeful that Sam gets the backing from fans to demand that the jersey is made. But for now we are just kind of taking a hands-off approach and seeing how the fans are reacting to him playing for us. And if we get enough demand we will reach out to Nike and get it on the shelves.”
It would be pretty unprecedented to see a third-round rookie who will be a rotational player have his jersey on the shelves available to purchase, but the circumstances are obviously different for Hubbard. His Cincinnati roots are obviously a factor, but his extensive fan base and family are clearly motivated to support him.
Hubbard’s opportunities on the field this season will probably be limited as he will likely be coming off the bench from time to time, but that won’t turn down the hype for this third-round pick. His ability to kick inside to the defensive tackle position will be something the team may utilize similar to what they did last year with Michael Johnson and Chris Smith.
One thing that obviously isn’t limited is the amount of support Hubbard is receiving.
“They’re just really excited,” Hubbard said. “Everybody is really excited to be a part of my support system and get out there on Sundays and tailgate, have a good time, enjoy the city and enjoy the hard work we’re putting in.”