White Sox wins bring in business

By David Valdes

When the White Sox clinched the American League pennant on Oct. 16, a multitude of merchandising options opened up for vendors across the state of Illinois. On campus, some stores are participating in the celebration by selling White Sox merchandise.

Anne Kadowski, assistant manager of Gameday Sports, said that World Series merchandise is not a big source of sales, but the store still carries some.

“It’s not huge for us,” she said. “Right now, we have two different styles of T-shirts for the White Sox.”

Kadowski said Gameday Sports would have carried St. Louis Cardinals merchandise if that team had beaten the Houston Astros since St. Louis is very popular among University baseball fans, but also said it is unusual that Gameday is carrying White Sox merchandise.

“It’s a big deal in the sense that we never really carry stuff outside of Illinois sports teams,” she said.

She has, however, noticed that the White Sox have not inspired as much excitement among buyers as another Chicago baseball team.

“We see it’s not as popular as when the Cubs went to the playoffs a couple of years ago,” she said.

Kadowski said that whether Gameday orders more White Sox merchandise, depends on how well the team fairs in upcoming games.

“If they win the World Series, we’re supposed to get more merchandise,” she said.

Kadowski said that any merchandise carried in the store, other than Illini merchandise, is determined by the buyers.

“It’s usually based on customer interests,” she said. “Interests usually remain on the Sox, Cubs and Cardinals.”

Gameday Sports carried Chicago Bears merchandise as well, when that team was playing in Champaign, she said.

Cory Shumard, manager of Gameday Sports, said White Sox merchandise was ordered shortly after the divisional series began.

“It was before they had eliminated the Red Sox,” Shumard said. “A lot of national vendors started to come to us at that time, telling us what products they had.”

Shumard said that all merchandise in cases like this is purchased on an “if/when” basis.

“These national vendors are obviously not going to make White Sox division champs merchandise and then have to destroy it if they don’t make it,” he said. “As soon as the Sox clinched it, those products got started being made for us.”

He said he had not seen the sketches for the merchandise Gameday would sell if the White Sox win the World Series, but hopes they do win.

“Hopefully the Sox, being our last local team, have four more victories in them so we’d have the opportunity to sell White Sox World Series Champs merchandise,” Shumard said.

However, not all Champaign-Urbana stores are going to sell World Series merchandise.

Steve Mesker, manager of Follett’s Bookstore, said his store would not be carrying World Series merchandise.

“We will not, only due to the fact that there are other places for it,” he said. “Our focus is pretty much just on University of Illinois things.”

Mesker said he knows that there are a large number of baseball fans working in his store and attending the University, but that licensing rights for the merchandise is an obstacle in obtaining the goods.

“Anything that we would sell would have to be licensed to the White Sox or (Major League Baseball),” he said. “There are certain steps we’d have to take as well as other things we’d have to do involving our buying department.”

Mesker said Follett’s Bookstore would sell World Series merchandise if there were a strong demand for it.

“I believe in the past we had considered it, but I just don’t think the requests have really met the need to actually do it,” he said.

Mesker said because the World Series moves so quickly and it is unsure which teams will actually participate until days before the seven-game series starts, buying merchandise is difficult.

“There’s just a very small window of opportunity to get it done in this case,” he said.