Houston Astros set merchandise sales record

Friday was a day off for World Series baseball, but World Series merchandising activity was on full display at the Astros team store inside Union Station.

Midday business was brisk for a local fan base that has already set its own record to match the superlatives Astros players have recorded in the five-game series against the Phillies.

According to Major League Baseball, the nine retail outlets at Union Station and Minute Maid Park in Game 1 Oct. 28 had the highest single-day merchandise sales total in World Series history, surpassing the mark set in an 18-inning game between the Red Sox and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in 2018.

Game 2 of the series, according to MLB, was the second-highest total on record. That gives the Astros four of the best World Series one-day sales totals on record, joining Game 1 of each of the team’s two previous appearances in 2019 and 2021.

Major League Baseball does not release dollar totals for merchandise sales, but Astros senior vice president Anita Sehgal said the team sold about 50,000 items at the Union Station store, which is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. until the final. on match days and the other eight stadium outlets.

The Astros have significantly increased retail outlets since 2013, when the team resumed retail operations from an outside vendor. Union Station and the home plate location remain the largest locations, but the Astros are in the process of expanding their retail store behind the center field from the current 2,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet.

Apparel — caps, t-shirts, jerseys and other items — make up about 70% of merchandise sales, Sehgal said, and those items were clearly the focus of Friday’s midday crowd.

Astros fan Art Armenta was loaded down with three jerseys, three t-shirts, a cap and a ball, the fruits of a well-deserved afternoon of retail therapy after a restless night in front of the television watching the victory 3-2 from the Astros. the Phillies in Game 5.

“There is a sense of pride in being able to support a team like this,” Armenta said. “I’ve been here 25 years and I’ve seen them go from bottom to top.”

Among the Game 5 highlights for Astros fans was the leaping catch of center fielder Chas McCormack from a ninth-inning drive by Phillies catcher JT Realmuto. So it was no surprise to see buyers wearing McCormick jerseys towards the payline along with those of longtime favorites Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Justin Verlander.

The Astros, however, apparently underestimated the new appeal of rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña, who is hitting .381 for the World Series and made two of the team’s three-pointers in Game 5.

Osward Rodriguez, who has been an Astros fan since attending his first game at the Astrodome in 1965, came to the store Friday ready and ready to spend $200 on a Peña jersey. However, he was told the Peña jerseys were sold out but the store would customize one for him on the spot.

For an additional $90.

Rodriguez, like Peña from the Dominican Republic, was ready to pay the price to honor one of the most exciting young players in the game. He said he will wear the shirt at Minute Maid Park on Saturday for Game 6, where he will be joined by his younger brother – who bought his Peña shirt earlier.

“He’s totally ready to go,” Rodriguez said. “Now it’s me.”

For fans rescheduling their shopping sprees until Saturday, the Union Station store will be open from regular hours, closing at 2 p.m. before reopening when the stadium gates open.

Sehgal said around 90 minutes before the first launch – in the case of Saturday, around 5:30 p.m. – is the peak time for merchandise sales.

If the Astros win Game 6 or, if necessary, Game 7, the team will announce its plans at that time to make updated merchandise available to fans.