When Stephanie Ganal, whose family owns White Sox fan Grandstand, saw customers queuing outside the store near the team’s stadium, the enthusiasm reminded her of the team’s 2005 World Championship-winning season.
“When you have lines going around the building for the product, you know the team is interesting,” Ganal said.
But the bandwagon-jumping fans behind the team may not want to wait to buy their gear: Supply chain problems affecting everything from toilet paper to chicken wings are hitting the team’s outfit, too.
“If you are a fan and you know you want something that expresses your south side inside you, get it because later it may not be there,” Ganal said.
The team lost their first game of the post-season to the Houston Astros on Thursday but the two teams will face off again in Houston on Friday before returning to Chicago on Sunday.
Teams generally make more sales when they do well, and Sox is no exception. President Britten Maughan said sales of Sox hats at sports retailer are up 415% compared to 2019, and apparel sales are up 197%.
No Sox player has broken down the top 20 most popular players’ jerseys, based on Nike jersey sales on MLBShop.com since opening day, according to rankings released by Major League Baseball and MLB Players earlier this week.
But the Sox hat is the best-selling item this year for the Lids, beating out regular favorites like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, and players Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu were particularly popular, Maughan said.
Even at Clark Street Sports, which typically sells at least twice as much Cubs as Sox, Sox has been outselling the Cubs since the team dumped fan-favorite players Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, among others, in Earlier this summer, co-owner Jason Carff said.
The extra demand, combined with supply chain issues, has left some items – notably black knockoffs – in short supply.
Karev said Clark Street Sports sold its last replica Sox jerseys in July and won’t receive any more before the playoffs are over. Maughan said the covers have plenty of white house shirts, but other styles are hard to find.
At Grandstand, black jerseys are only available in certain sizes, Ghannal said. Some requests for stands have been delayed by three months, and others have been pushed into next year.
Grandstand, Clark Street Sports and retail chain Lids said their shelves are stocked with plenty of other merchandise, such as T-shirts, hats and sweaters.
However, store owners encourage customers to shop early as it can be difficult to exchange items once they are sold out. Karev said companies that used to send additional goods in just a few days now take weeks.
“If you saw it, you would probably buy it,” he said.
The higher costs of shipping goods from abroad have driven up prices for some customers as well. Jersey prices haven’t gone up, Maughan said, but hats that normally cost $35 or $40 are now more than a few dollars.
Phil Sklar, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and the new Sox bobbleheads museum that includes Abreu, Moncado and Luis Robert, made by sporting goods manufacturer FOCO, said it has escaped supply chain problems and is already available, although other items are experiencing delays. . Fame and CEO of the museum and co-founder.
Although Grandstand has had to work even harder to keep shelves stocked this year, Ganal isn’t worried that supply chain problems will limit sales.
“I foresee a long-term future with this team, especially with them being young children,” she said. “The guys deserve it, especially after last year.”