Over a billion dollars worth of merchandise sold in one fiscal year. If anyone doubted the popularity of the NFL and its players, the latest sales information released from NFL Players Inc. (NFLPI) should quell those doubts.
NFLPI, the marketing and licensing arm of the NFL Players Association, on Monday released the top sales list for the 2013-14 season. The rankings are based on total overall sales of all licensed products from online and traditional retail outlets. With over 70 licensees selling products, including jerseys manufactured by Nike and posters created by Fathead, there is a wide array of opportunities for the league and its players to develop compelling and profitable marketing relationships.
Adding to his growing list of accomplishments, Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson leads the list. His on-field heroics, which included leading his team to victory in last season’s Super Bowl, have helped solidify his position as the fan favorite. Wilson’s banner year not only included beating Denver’s Peyton Manning on the field, but also on the shelves as Manning slipped to second from his previous spot atop the list. Wilson rocketed from No. 19 to No. 1.
Quarterbacks represented nine out of the top 10 spots on the list. The influx of talented quarterbacks following the 2011 and 2012 draft classes include Wilson, the San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick (No. 3) and the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck (No. 9). Add established QBs such as Manning, the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (No. 5) and New England Patriots’ Tom Brady (No. 6), and the NFL’s premier position with consumers is obvious.
This latest news strengthens the cases for Wilson and Kaepernick when their next contracts are negotiated. Both players have far outperformed the average value of their rookie contracts. Each started in a Super Bowl and placed in the top three of overall merchandise sales for 2014 fiscal year.
The top 10 best-selling NFL athletes according to the NFLPI (salary information per spotrac.com):
To find out players 11-50, check out the full NFLPI player sales list for the 2013-14 season.
Courtney Brunious is Associate Director at the USC Sports Business Institute.