When the Golden Knights unveiled the team’s uniform last year, reviews were mixed.
“This. Is. Hideous,” The Washington Post wrote, summarizing the reactions online.
But the Las Vegas team proved phenomenal on the ice, posting one of the best records in the NHL – and their merchandise sales topped the pack.
The expanding club, now entering the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings, leads the league this season in merchandise sales through the Fanatics online retailer network, which includes the Official NHL and Golden Knights shopping websites.
Fanatics spokesperson Brandon Williams declined to give comparisons to other teams or the Knights’ total turnover. But he said sales of Knights merchandise were up 80% in the past two weeks compared to the previous two weeks, and that Fanatics had sold Knights gear to buyers in nearly 90 countries since the start of the season. .
âIt’s really safe to assume we’ve never seen that kind of responseâ to an expansion team, said Jack Boyle, Fanatics’ North America retail co-president.
There is always early enthusiasm for a new sports franchise, Boyle said, but what âmakes the sales power worseâ for the Golden Knights is the team’s performance on the ice.
NHL expansion clubs can be some of the worst in the league. But the Knights set a record for first-year wins and won the Pacific Division title.
Their merchandise sales have âdefinitely picked upâ throughout the season, Boyle said. Among the highlights: goaltender Marc-AndrÃ© Fleury’s # 29 jersey is the team’s best-selling and among the top five overall in the NHL.
At Miracle Mile Shops on the Strip, tourists and locals alike shop for Knights gear, said Wendy Albert, the mall’s senior marketing manager. She said a Lids store had to restock their Knights merchandise “every few days”.
Knights marketing director Brian Killingsworth, who previously worked for the NFL and Major League Baseball teams, said Wednesday he had “never seen a market supporting a team like this.”
The people of southern Nevada “were hungry for a major professional sports team,” but the Knights’ on-ice success had “a huge effect” on sales of jerseys, shirts, hats and other merchandise.
He said that at T-Mobile Arena, even fans of visiting teams line up to buy Knights gear. And when the Knights recently sold limited edition posters – 702 were available for $ 70.20 each – at their practice rink, the City National Arena, âwe lined up around the building for a good eight hours of sharp. I have never seen this type of fever before.
Doors opened at 10 a.m., but Killingsworth said six people showed up at 3 a.m. and 20 were there at 6 a.m.
All this for a team which, due to its name and colors, found itself embroiled in a brand dispute with the U.S. military and whose logo initially did not receive universal rave reviews.
“Bad, bad team”
When the team announced their name in the fall of 2016, The Guardian reported that their medieval-style helmet logo was being compared to, among other things, movie villains and PokÃ©mon. “It’s not the best logo in the league, but it will be fine” the publication wrote.
(The Hockey News, meanwhile, said the logo was “fantastic. â)
The Washington Post, in its article on the uniform last June, said the apparent consensus he was hideous was based on the reaction on Twitter, where users brushed him off.
Sports news site Deadspin said the uniform was “not so badâ, Adding that it wasâ so little flashy âthat it looked straight out of a video game.
The next day, after the Knights filled their roster with the expansion draft, Deadspin also wrote that the club were “bad, bad team“who” will not have more than a dozen regulatory victories “.
At the end of the season, the Knights had the fifth-best save in the NHL.