NFL: New York stores scrambling to get Tebow jerseys on rack
By Ray McNulty
Scripps Howard News Service
The sudden and surprising arrival of quarterback Tim Tebow to the Jets has local retailers scurrying to capitalize on the team’s latest big-name acquisition.
Tebow, who became a national star last season while leading the Denver Broncos to the playoffs, also has led to a significant uptick in interest in Jets’ season tickets for next season on the secondary market.
The first shipment of Jets Tebow T-shirts arrived at Modell’s Times Square store Thursday night, and the sporting goods chain said many more truckloads will be dropped off at its locations throughout the metropolitan area this weekend.
Jason Karlowski, Modell’s manager of marketing and public relations, said the sporting goods company was ready to begin producing Tebow shirts shortly after it learned of the trade Wednesday. But it had to wait until it heard from the Jets, the league office and the players association regarding what number Tebow would be wearing in green.
That call came early yesterday afternoon — Tebow will continue to wear 15 — and he said Modell’s had enough time to schedule a shipment of “a little more than 200” Jets shirts to its Times Square store.
Karlowski said another set of about 200 kids’ shirts was scheduled to arrive at that store later in the evening.
“We’ve already been getting a ton of customer interest, so we’re expecting these to be sold pretty quickly,” Karlowski said.
Tebow Jets T-shirts were available on the Jets’ website as early as Thursday, though a message on the site said they wouldn’t be shipped until March 30.
There were no Tebow jerseys available, however, as the league is deep in the process of switching from Reebok to Nike as its official licensee. Nike is expected to unveil its new-look jerseys early next month.
A league spokesman said Tebow’s Broncos jersey was the second-most-popular jersey sold on the league’s website over the last year, behind only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, league MVP last year. The Giants’ Eli Manning was third, followed by New England’s Tom Brady.
The Jets’ season is still more than five months away, but Tebow has piqued fans’ interest in buying tickets for the upcoming season. StubHub spokeswoman Joellen Ferrer said the site received about 13,000 page views on the day of the Tebow trade, which is up from its recent average of 2,000 page views per day for Jets ticket searches.
But she said the increased interest in Jets tickets appeared to be driven by curiosity more than anything. She said there have been fewer than 100 transactions since the trade. “It is a spike, but it’s not the same kind of excitement and overall demand that we saw with Peyton Manning signing with Denver on Monday,” she said. “I expect we’ll see some trends surface once single-game tickets are available. We’re still a couple of months away.”