The NFLPI and LIDS have partnered to allow personalized caps with players’ numbers and signature embroidered on the cap. According to the NFLPI’s website, the hats have “generated positive buzz since launching in November, and the on-demand service has increased player specific sales.” The service allows fans to differentiate themselves by adding their favorite players to the gear purchased at LIDS.
The NFLPI is constantly pushing for more exposure and more revenue for its members. This is just another method for players to generate revenue outside of normal endorsement deals. It also can be a data point as the NFLPI aligns brands and players in the future. The NFLPI is essentially creating business development metrics to market its players.
The differentiation could also increase hat sales. Fans may already have a Seattle Seahawks hat, but it would be much cooler if they had one embroidered with the Legion of Boom’s numbers and signatures. The NFLPI and LIDS could theoretically build hats based on units most popular with each team. The opportunities intriguing: Hats could be tailored for The Legion of Boom, the 49ers defense, or the Broncos receiving core.
It will be interesting to see if players with their own personalized brands take advantage of the desire for this type of gear. For example, Tom Brady sells his own TB12 hat. What if he decides to copy the NFLPI idea? Julian Edelman sold his own T-shirt after his TD pass in the AFC divisional game against the Ravens, and that income doesn’t go to the NFLPI. For now, the NFLPI is taking advantage of the personalization, but it may run into an issue as players try to further their personal brand away from NFL/NFLPI officially licensed products.
Michael Colangelo is Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute and Senior Editor of The Fields of Green.