Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Uniform Shortage; Those Redesigned Jags Jerseys? Much of New Gear Not in Stores Yet

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Uniform Shortage; Those Redesigned Jags Jerseys? Much of New Gear Not in Stores Yet

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon

New jerseys and new helmets may have started a buzz about the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it's yet to be seen if the fashion makeover will translate into big bucks for the First Coast's NFL franchise.

The black jerseys with teal sleeves and the counterpart white jerseys have caught the attention of fans just a week after the new uniforms were announced by owner Shad Khan and his staff, but the bulk of the revamped Jags gear hasn't made it into stores yet, leaving many fans wondering when they can get their hands on it.

David Horton, manager of Sports Mania on Third Street North in Jacksonville Beach, said the level of interest in the new Jags gear is about the highest he's ever seen.

"People are excited about the jersey," Horton said. "The problem is, the only one available is MJD [running back Maurice Jones-Drew]. With him being on a contract year, they're a little reluctant to buy it. But there's huge excitement here around Jacksonville."

Horton has the Jones-Drew jerseys in the new style because of a fluke. In the fall, he placed his standard order to restock his store, having no idea that the uniforms were going to be revamped.

He got the new jerseys the day after the Jags announced the new style April 23.

Horton said one player whose new jerseys are in high demand is Jags wide receiver Justin Blackmon. But Tuesday's announcement by the NFL of Blackmon's four-game suspension for substance abuse may lower that demand.

Dozens of fans have stopped by Horton's shop asking for the new Jags gear, he said, leaving him hoping the new duds get to his store as soon as possible.

Jags spokesman Dan Edwards said full shipments of revamped Jaguars apparel won't likely be shipped to stores until June because of a lag between production and delivery.

But Edwards said the demand is high: The franchise sold out of a small supply of new Jaguar jerseys that went for more than $100 each at an

NFL draft night party held at EverBank Field on April 25.

"We are really pleased with the sales at the draft party and are confident that that bodes well for sales entering the season," Edwards said. "The energy and feedback has been incredible."

Historically, uniform changes appear to boost merchandise sales, although it's hard to tease out the cause of the growth because new uniforms often come out around the time a team gets better. Teams can only overhaul their uniforms every five years or when they get a new owner.

In 1981, the Bengals revamped their uniforms to the loud orange and black striped helmets. The following year, the Cincinnati franchise jumped onto the list of top merchandise teams, landing to sixth on the list, helped by a Super Bowl appearance that year.

In 1997, both the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers underwent complete uniform overhauls. Denver finished the fourth highest in league merchandise sales in 1997 and then third in 1998, also helped by playoff and Super Bowl victories. …

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