Just How Red-Hot Are Those Patrick Mahomes Chiefs Jerseys?By Yonce'
December 15, 2018
Replica jerseys of star NFL quarterbacks have been big sellers for about a half-century — or since Bart Starr, Fran Tarkenton and Johnny Unitas roamed the frozen tundra — so the sudden spike in the sales of Patrick Mahomes jerseys this fall should not really come as too much of a surprise.
The Kansas City Chiefs essentially made the 23-year-old Mahomes their starting quarterback when they traded Alex Smith to Washington in January, so Chiefs fans had a head start on buying a Mahomes jersey and gear.
But look what has happened since September. Patrick Mahomes is hot, and so is his merchandise.
On opening weekend, Mahomes merch was not among the top 25 in the NFL, according to Fanatics, the licensed merchandiser that operates NFLShop.com and the Chiefs’ official online store. Mahomes stuff was No. 1 for October and is now No. 2 for the season.
(And the No. 1 seller, as of now, is merchandise for Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, whom Chicago acquired from the Oakland Raiders a week before the season opener.)
Fanatics reports that Mahomes gear sold in the last weekend of October at five times the rate that it did in the opening weekend of the season. Kansas City is the top market, but his merchandise is also selling well in Dallas (Mahomes grew up in Texas) and Chicago.
“We see spikes in player merchandise all the time,” said Jack Boyle, the co-president of Fanatics’ direct-to-consumer business, “but what’s interesting to me about the numbers behind Patrick Mahomes is how quickly he jumped to No. 1 and how long he’s been able to stay there.
“Most players who remain a hot seller for weeks had gradual climbs to the top. The force at which fans have purchased Mahomes’ gear equals how quickly he exploded onto the scene with record-breaking performances this season. I don’t see this demand slowing down if he keeps playing this well.”
Mahomes, a former Texas Tech quarterback who was the Chiefs’ first-round draft pick in 2017, has passed for 2,526 yards, with 26 touchdowns versus six interceptions, for the Chiefs, who are 7-1. But statistics don’t do a good job reflecting how heady, exciting and resourceful he is. It is as if Mahomes, the son of a former big-league pitcher, was destined for success.
Even in the team’s only loss, by 43-40 to powerful New England in the final seconds on a Sunday night, Mahomes was brilliant, throwing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. Two weeks earlier, he’d completed a pass with his left hand in a victory over the Denver Broncos.
So, not surprisingly, fans want a piece of the Mahomes phenomenon. According to the Chiefs, Mahomes jerseys are the top sellers in the team store and are on pace to shatter sales of the previous season’s top seller, the jersey of tight end Travis Kelce.
Kelce has the second-most popular jersey this season, say the Chiefs, and it has sold less than half as much as Mahomes’. The Chiefs’ team store has reordered Mahomes jerseys six times since training camp.
At the home opener on Sept. 23 against San Francisco, with the Chiefs already at 2-0, the team store broke a record by selling 700 Mahomes jerseys. The Chiefs have also reported a surge in the price of tickets to home games on their secondary market, with season-ticket holders able to resell tickets they bought for $46 to $55 for more than three times that amount.
But Mahomes was known about in Kansas City, especially after he filled in for Smith for the Chiefs’ final regular-season home game last year and passed for 284 yards. The Chiefs, with Smith starting, lost a playoff game at home to Tennessee a week later.
Dick’s Sporting Goods, a national chain with 10 stores in the Kansas City area, reported that sales of Mahomes jerseys surged into the top 10 last week and took the No. 3 spot among NFL players on the list of best sellers, behind the jerseys of Mack and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
In the past month, according to Dick’s, Mahomes jerseys ranked No. 5 among NFL players. He is No. 13 among NFL players this season. (The Chiefs are No. 11 among teams.) Consider that Mahomes’ jersey was No. 110 in sales at Dick’s during his rookie season.