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NBA Catalog Continues Focus on High-Ticket Items

How much will catalog customers pay for used clothes? The National Basketball Association thinks it depends on who wore them previously. The league's spring/summer catalog, which mailed last month, features apparel worn by players in the 2001 NBA.com Slam Dunk Contest for $125,000.

The 56 items — a mixture of jerseys, shorts, warm-up jackets and pants — are part of an ongoing display of high-ticket items that the cataloger features in its books. The fall/winter catalog offered the All-Star game floor for $250,000. The Upper Deck, a trading card company, purchased the floor.

“One of our goals is to feature an item or items that are unique, or one of a kind in the catalog that would separate it from being just a bunch of merchandise on pages,” said Sal LaRocca, senior vice president at the NBA's global merchandising group. “Generally we know there's an interest in that type of merchandise, and that's why we offer it.”

The spring/summer catalog mailed to 750,000 consumers, including buyers from previous catalogs, shoppers at the NBA's Web site, season ticket holders and fans who had purchased game tickets online.

The 24-page catalog featured 140 items and differs slightly from previous books, LaRocca said. The most notable addition is a two-page spread of sale items. The pages' edges have an orange banner with “spring sale” written on them to make the section more noticeable.

“We felt it was important to the customers and fans that things featured in the fall catalog are now on sale in this catalog,” LaRocca said. “It's a nice element and one we feel will give customers an incentive to purchase items they might have been unable to get in the previous catalog.”

The catalog also expanded its assortment of Women's National Basketball Association merchandise from two to three pages in response to growing product demand. This is the third catalog to feature WNBA items.

The catalog's Hardwood Classics section, which is a line of classic merchandise from current and former teams, also has been expanded to include additional merchandise.

Each page has a mixture of two to five items as well as photographs of popular current and former basketball players.

“The catalog is an ongoing creative process from the front cover to the inside pages,” LaRocca said. “Most people who are fans of the NBA recognize players, and we include players throughout the catalog.”

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