Published April 8th, 2022 at 6:00 AM
Baseball is back and excited fans are celebrating with new team gear.
In a new analysis, global ecommerce accelerator Pattern took a closer look at consumer demand trends when it comes to baseball fans buying their favorite team’s gear.
The data collected through Amazon U.S. Marketplace found consumer demand for gear like jerseys or caps was 38% higher ahead of opening day 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. The week of opening day in 2021 saw demand spike 50% over the previous week.
In 2022, Pattern sees the consumer demand on pace to match last season’s surge.
The study honed in on consumer demand data surrounding opening day as a potential indicator of how excited fans are for the return of baseball each season.
(Courtesy | Pattern)
Kansas City Royals fans are doing their part to move the needle.
According to Pattern’s findings, only the Tampa Bay Rays saw a larger percentage increase in hat sales on opening day compared to the rest of the season than the Royals in 2021.
For Royals fans, demand for hats during the week of opening day 2021 were up 329% compared to weekly averages during the regular season.
Despite big spikes in demand around opening day, total sales for the Royals and Rays lagged far behind big market behemoths like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.
On opening day 2022, Royals fans were looking for last-minute caps — but of the winter variety.
A few hours before the first pitch, Country Club Plaza Rally House employee Julie Williams listed a few of the items that fans picked up on their way to Kauffman Stadium.
“Beanies, windbreakers, hoodies…” Williams said.
While wind, cold rain and temperatures in the 40s brought fans into the team apparel outfitter to stay warm while cheering on the boys in blue, members of the Royals faithful also have No. 7 on their mind — baseball’s former top prospect and starting Royals third baseman Bobby Witt Jr.
Hours before Witt made his major league debut, Williams said Rally House doesn’t expect No. 7 jerseys until after the 21-year-old makes his mark as a member of the Royals.
Rally House media producer Colin Novick says fans have been asking about Witt threads throughout the offseason.
“We buy the jerseys as soon as we can, but with supply chain issues on blank jerseys, there can be a delay in receiving them from Nike. We were able to restock the most popular players this offseason, but new players that weren’t yet on the roster — we didn’t have the option,” Novick said.
As a result, Royals fans will have to wait for Witt jerseys, although both Rally House and local makers Charlie Hustle do have Witt t-shirts in stock.
Charlie Hustle employee Mary Fortney showed off a Royal blue graphic t-shirt that was boxed up all of last season, just in case Witt was called up to the team. The tee shows an animated version of the third baseman, underlined by the nickname “Junior.”
At Rally House, popular jerseys ahead of the 2022 season have been the new Nike road gray jerseys, plus fan favorite catcher Salvador Perez and up and coming infielder Nicky Lopez.
“As for how we determine which jerseys we carry, it’s all about athlete performance and fan requests,” Novick said.
In the bottom of the eighth inning on Thursday afternoon, Witt finished his major league debut with his first major league hit. It turned out to be the game-winner – a go-ahead one-run double into left field on opening day.
The Royals beat the Cleveland Guardians 3-1.
Better order as many Witt jerseys as you can.
Flatland contributor Clarence Dennis also is a social media manager for 90.9 The Bridge.