'Phenomenal' sales of Giants merchandise

New York Giants fans grab Giants Superbowl XLVI

New York Giants fans grab Giants Superbowl XLVI Championship merchandise at Modell's in Freeport immediately after Big Blue's defeat of the New England Patriots. Zachary Golub, 10, of Merrick, holds a Giants championship shirt his mother just bought for him. (Feb. 5, 2012) (Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin)

Retail sales of licensed Super Bowl merchandise could exceed $200 million this season, according to the National Football League, and might reach a record, as local stores struggle to keep up with demand following the Giants' win Sunday.

"We had a strong playoff, and the Indianapolis market responded bigger than we've ever seen," said Leo Kane, senior vice president of consumer products for the NFL, referring to national consumer demand for licensed Super Bowl items. "And the biggest market in the country won the Super Bowl, so that has the makings of being the biggest ever."

The NFL won't know the final sales figures until the official end of its fiscal year on March 31.

But on Long Island, retailers described the local response as "phenomenal."

The Sports Authority store in Bohemia, for example, has sold out of $30 Giants Super Bowl championship caps three times since the victory, with shipments continuing to come in throughout the day Monday. "It has definitely helped business," manager Karen Oakes-Diaz said.

And Modell's Sporting Goods said that at its stores on Long Island and throughout the metro area, sales of Super Bowl merchandise have been building since the Giants' NFC Championship Game win two weeks ago.

"2008 was a year to remember, but this was blowing it away," said Modell's spokesman Rich Lampmann, comparing merchandise demand for the Giants' win Sunday with their triumph in 2008.

Overall retail sales of NFL licensed merchandise have been on the rise, said Ira Mayer, publisher of The Licensing Letter, a Manhattan-based trade publication. Retail sales are expected to hit about $3 billion for 2011, he said, up from $2.855 billion in 2010.

"The Giants are a pretty big team," Mayer said, "so it's going to be more of a bump in sales than it would for a lot of teams in the middle of the country that don't have as big of a population to draw."

The NFL negotiates licensing agreements with about 135 companies to produce everything from T-shirts to video games. The NFL's 32 teams receive an equal share of the royalties from licensed products, Kane said. Individual players get a direct percentage of royalties if their likeness or uniform numbers are used.

The Giants, who have a stadium store and an online store, also stand to benefit as a retailer, Kane said.

Giants fans can't seem to get enough.

Retired teacher Phyllis Bronzo of Patchogue went to the Bohemia Sports Authority in search of two championship caps she intends to send to her brother and nephew, former New Yorkers living in Oklahoma. They were sold out, but she vowed to try again.

"I'll find them," Bronzo said. "You always find them. You just have to be patient."

With Tom Incantalupo

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