Baseball’s blackout hats begin era of new merchandise

Lost in the excitement surrounding the ASU baseball team’s debut of black uniforms, April 13’s victory against USC was the conclusion of ASU’s one-year exclusive merchandise deal with Nike.

The release of the new uniforms wasn’t a coincidence. The game was one year and one day after the launch of ASU’s “It’s Time” rebranding campaign, allowing the University to begin selling the black New Era copper pitchfork hats.

ASU Trademark and Licensing Coordinator Tim Potter said the new hats are a “great opportunity” for both fans and retailers.

“Nike has some great designs … but now everyone has the opportunity to get a Champion or JanSport or some other brand they might like better,” Potter said.

New Era’s NCAA AC 59Fifty ASU Stock Cap, which cost $31.99, have sold fast, he said.

Potter said the stock at Packard Stadium nearly sold out of all 240 hats in the first weekend.

He said the University has approximately 375 licensees on board with products expected to appear everywhere from Target to Wal-Mart.

“(ASU has) had a great bump from Nike, and we’ll be able to sustain it or maybe even do even better with all these great new designs hitting the market,” Potter said.

Business sophomore Brian Muller, who was the first to purchase the hat on April 12, said he has wanted a hat with the revamped pitchfork since the logo was released.

“Now, I’ve been wearing it pretty much every second I’ve been awake,” Muller said.

LIDS Sports Group spokeswoman Ashley Gibbons said the University doesn’t expect the hats’ appeal to slow down anytime soon.

She said the company has been excited about the baseball team’s new headwear and hopes to keep the product widely available for the Sun Devils’ fan base.

“As the season continues, (the LIDS Sports Group) will keep Sparky’s Stadium Shop stocked to meet ASU fans demands,” she said.

An additional shipment twice the size of the initial order arrived several days after ASU’s series against USC, Gibbons said.

Fans of the maroon and gold can also expect a wave of diversified merchandise with other venders finally able to utilize the new pitchfork trademark, Potter said.

“It’s exciting to see new designs from the different venders,” Potter said. “They each have their own group of artists and their own style.”

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