But in this 2012 season, when the club’s run of on-field success has come to a sudden, screeching halt, the falloff in those sales has mirrored the deterioration of its won-loss record.
According to SportsOneSource, a Maine firm that monitors the sale of sports-related merchandise at outlets other than ballparks, the purchase of Phillies-related products has declined by 60 percent.
“They’re still No. 2 behind the Yankees,” Matt Powell, the company’s chief retail analyst, said Friday. “But their share of the market has fallen from 16.2 percent to 8.9.”
Even at the ballpark, though the team does not release such figures, Phils officials conceded they’re selling less of practically everything but the quirky Phanatic caps and Carlos Ruiz merchandise. “We’re down. Definitely,” said Scott Brandreth, the team’s director of merchandising. “Our fans know when we’re not playing well, and that affects the sales numbers.”
The Phillies aren’t the only team suffering a sales slump. Through July, Powell noted, MLB’s merchandise sales were off 25 percent from a year ago.
“Some of the big teams, the Phillies and Red Sox in particular, are having down years,” said Powell. “And the teams that are having good years, like Texas and Washington, just don’t have the fan bases.”
According to Ira Mayer, whose Licensing Letter charts sports-licensing developments, such a large decline is unprecedented in a baseball season not interrupted by a labor dispute.
“Historically, if those figures are accurate, it’s never happened,” said Mayer.