Last year Texas A&M ran into an issue of backordered Johnny Manziel football jerseys – they had not adequately planned for his popularity surge and could not keep his #2 jerseys in stock because of long lead times on orders to China. As a result, there was a lot of unmet demand.
(If they/adidas had sourced the jersey production locally, even stateside, they could have avoided the stockouts and met that demand.)
And now after Johnny Football won the Heisman Trophy and returns to College Station, you better believe the Texas A&M bookstore and other jersey outlets would be stocking up on his jerseys big time. (Yes, NCAA, we all know you know who TAMU’s #2 jersey is. Don’t pretend to be oblivious.)
But then we get this report from the weekend. From ESPN.com:
Two sources told “Outside the Lines” that Manziel agreed to sign memorabilia in exchange for a five-figure flat fee during his January trip to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game.
Three sources said Manziel signed photographs, footballs, mini football helmets and other items at the request of an autograph broker named Drew Tieman. Two sources, who are aware of the signing arrangement, told “Outside the Lines” that Tieman approached Manziel on Jan. 6, when he landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to attend the game between Alabama and Notre Dame the next day.
Autograph broker? Where there’s a broker, there’s a bag of cash being transacted.
However, he’s signing his name. It doesn’t belong to the university. It belongs to him. Is that bad? From ESPN.com again:
If the NCAA investigation finds that Manziel has violated NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168 — accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product or service — he could be ruled ineligible.
Well, whether he’s promoting himself or the school or another entity, that’s apparently a no-no. And that means he could be ineligible to play football for Texas A&M. Apparently it’s okay for the school to use Johnny Football to promote itself and get rich in the process, though. ESPN.com again:
The value of Manziel is clear in the memorabilia and appearance market: Independent merchandiser Aggieland Outfitters recently auctioned off six helmets signed by Manziel and Texas A&M’s other Heisman Trophy winner, John David Crow, for $81,000. Texas A&M’s booster organization, the 12th Man Foundation, sold a table for six, where Manziel and Crow will sit at the team’s Kickoff Dinner later this month, for $20,000.
All in the name of amateurism, right?
So if Johnny Manziel – #2 – is not playing for Texas A&M, fans aren’t going to be all that interested in those jerseys being stockpiled by the bookstore and other jersey outlets. Not only that, there’s not even another #2 on the TAMU roster. Those #2 jerseys would then essentially be defects.
This is another example of why local sourcing, while more expensive up front, is a better plan than international sourcing. You minimize warehousing inventory, you have smaller batches, greater flexibility, you have shorter lead times, you minimize transportation, and in the event a player flubbs up or gets traded and is no longer wearing a particular jersey the cost of changing over is very small.
As we speak, there is surely a large quantity of TAMU #2 jerseys floating on a big boat from China to the west coast. Jerseys that may never be purchased.