L.A. Arena Markets Team Merchandise by Catalog

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Fans of Los Angeles' professional basketball and hockey teams have a new way to buy team merchandise.

That's because 80,000 copies of the first Team LA Catalog went out in three drops from Nov. 26 to Dec. 4 to two prospect lists and the season-ticket lists of the National Basketball Association's Clippers and Lakers and the National Hockey League's Kings. Another 20,000 copies of the 40-page book are available in luxury suites at the Staples Center, where the teams play, or by completing an address card at the arena's Team LA retail store.

"Previously there had not been a multichannel marketing effort produced by the Staples Center," said Todd Russell, manager of sports marketing at AGA Catalog Marketing & Design, New York, the catalog marketing and design firm that created, produced and executed the Team LA catalog.

While Los Angeles County is the primary target of the mailing, recipients also live in the southern California counties of Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Orange. Russell described the catalog's target demographic as mainly males ages 23-44, though many of the items are for children.

The order form lists a toll-free number and a phone number for faxing orders, but does not mention the Web site. It is, however, listed at the bottom of pages 2, 4, 6 and 8.

"We prefer that customers call in their orders, although they can mail the order forms to the mailing address that is on the back cover," Russell said. "The merchandise will be available on the Web site in the near future. We expect the vast majority of orders will be by phone. We're not depending on e-commerce to be a significant source of orders.

"The preliminary results are extremely positive," he said. "Our average order is around $100, and the response rate is around 3 [percent] to 4 percent. We are meeting, if not exceeding, expectations. The economy is a factor, but with the Lakers' merchandise, we're dealing with one of the greatest teams in the NBA."

Russell said the average price of merchandise in the book is about $45. Items range from a limited-edition customized studded Italian lambskin leather jacket priced at $4,800 to Kings souvenir puck and lapel pins for $5 apiece.

The Lakers, who are the NBA's two-time defending champions, dominate the front of the book, as their merchandise appears on pages 2-5. The Clippers, clearly the city's second basketball team, have items on pages 6-7 while the Kings' items are on pages 8-10. Page 11 showcases merchandise tied to the NHL All-Star Game that will take place in February at The Staples Center.

"We expect the jackets to do well," Russell said. "Everything on the first four spreads, pages 2 through 9, is authentic merchandise, as is the NHL All-Star merchandise ... We also anticipate a significant response regarding the caps and visors on pages 26-29."

Female fans are targeted on pages 30-31 with items such as a Powder Puff Vest ($45), a Fun Neck Sweater ($55) and a Chillin' Hooded Pullover ($55).

About 200 items appear in the book, which carries the date of "fall-winter 2001" on the cover.

"Whether it will be published more than once each year has not been decided," he said. "It depends on the success of this first book."

The Staples Center used 70-pound, white gloss text throughout the book. Action shots were provided by the NBA for the Clippers and Lakers while the Kings supplied images of their players. AGA provided non-player fashion and product shots.


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