An official for Fanatics, the world’s largest merchandise licensee, told ESPN that the company sold more gear from when the teams clinched their respective conferences through midday Thursday — hours before tipoff of Game 1 of the NBA Finals — than in each of the previous three years.
“Both teams being down 3 games to 2 seemed to contribute to the excitement in buying gear when they won their conference,” said Jack Boyle, the company’s co-president of direct-to-consumer merchandise.
And it’s not just generic team gear. Boyle said that Fanatics sold more conference championship gear than any other of the past three years, even though conventional wisdom might suggest that fans of either team would wait for a title.
One of the reasons for a record amount of conference championship T-shirts being bought has to do with the speed that Fanatics, which had the official shirt for the first time, was able to get the shirts out to fans. The company made and sold them, meaning the timely shirts were shipped right after being printed.
The most orders for Cavs and Warriors conference championship gear came from Cleveland and San Francisco, respectively. The next highest-volume cities for Cavs orders were New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio. Los Angeles, Sacramento, New York and Miami rounded out the top five markets for Warriors conference championship gear sales on Fanatics.