The MLBPA's new store is dedicated to marketing the players. (Image courtesy MLBPA) (CLICK TO SEE IN LARGER VIEW)
With Marlon Anderson, J.J. Putz and Brian Schneider of the New York Mets and Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox in attendance, this was clearly not going to be an average store opening. But then, the store that opened Friday inside the new Citi Field is designed to be different. Welcome to the The Players Clubhouse: A Players Choice Store
With â€śMetsâ€ť clearly displayed throughout the store, the pile of tee-shirts on a large table with the names â€śWrightâ€ť and â€śRodriguezâ€ť displayed up-front marks the key difference.
While the â€śPlayers Choice Storeâ€ť has been part of several Team Stores throughout MLB for the last seven years, this marks the first store dedicated entirely to player-related merchandise licensed by the MLBAâ€™s Players Choice group licensing program. Deemed a â€śprototypeâ€ť it was developed by the MLB Players Association with staffing from Aramark in an effort to continue to market the players in Major League Baseball. The store features products from VF/Majestic, Nike, Twins, Topps, Upper Deck, WinCraft, Forever Collectibles, PhotoFile and Rawlings.
While any products that bear a playerâ€™s name on them garner an extra cut of the revenues that a non-player named product does, the store opening is not designed as an increased revenue effort.
â€śWorking together with clubs, and focusing on the players is the next logical step in the in marketing of the game,â€ť said Judy Heeter, Director of Business Affairs and Licensing for the Playersâ€™ Association. â€śItâ€™s is effective and what the fans want.â€ť
The deal at Citi Field was brokered between the MLBPA and the Mets, and will give the licensed manufacturers and the playersâ€™ union an opportunity to try new products and measure fan interest.
As to whether a store of this type will be coming to ballpark near you, Heeter says that is a very real possibility.
â€śIf we had known how much interest there would be with the launch of our Citi Field store, we probably would have done this seven years ago.â€ť
LISTEN TO MAURY BROWN DISCUSS THE NEW STORE OPENING ON MARKETPLACE