Lockout Hits Hockey Memorabilia Sales Hard

By | December 7, 2012

The NHL lockout is decimating hockey memorabilia sales

There is no doubt that hockey fans are frustrated with how this year’s National Hockey League season is playing out, or not playing out in this case.

Because of continuing disagreement between the National Hockey League Players’ Association and the league, a lockout has ensued and several games, including the All-Star Game and Winter Classic, have been cancelled.

Both sides claim that they aim on striking an agreement yet this season, but some signs point to the fact that the entire year might be lost when it is all said and done.

No hockey? No sales!

While some people are losing their favorite form of entertainment, others are losing their livelihoods, which are built around selling NHL merchandise and memorabilia.

It is no mystery that sales of sports merchandise and memorabilia are tied with fan interest in that sport. When fans have NHL hockey to watch and they are getting caught up in the thrill of the sport, they’re quicker to go out and purchase this type of merchandise, whether it is to show their support for a favorite team or simply collect.

With the NHL out of sight and out of mind, fans are less inclined to shop around for NHL-related items, a trend that has been well documented in the media and a number of merchants that deal with hockey-related paraphernalia.

Sales of NHL merchandise and memorabilia tanking

A recent article in The Globe and Mail reported on a storeowner that sells signed sports memorabilia, mainly hockey-related items. The sale of NHL items in the man’s store has plummeted 50 percent. If the hockey season is cancelled entirely, the shop owner could lose as much as a third of his annual income.

The Winter Classic, played outdoors, could have potentially been a boon for the man, especially since the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing in it this season. The man ordered a huge shipment of jerseys to be signed by current and former Maple Leaf players, but the game has been cancelled.

More just like him

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Another Montreal-based shop owner that deals with signed NHL merchandise and memorabilia might be forced to shut his doors if sales do not improve. The man made a statement through a YouTube video that chronicled his struggles. The video has been viewed by thousands, and was written about by such publications as CBS Sports.

Some NHL memorabilia still highly collectible

This recent trend should also alarm collectors who have been hoarding NHL memorabilia for years now. In the sports memorabilia market, the value of an item is based on the demand for it. If the popularity of hockey falls to the wayside, there will be little demand, even for the rarest of hockey collectibles.

Luckily, memorabilia centered on former hockey greats will likely take less of a hit than items dedicated to current stars. Guys like Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux are still considered some of the greatest players to ever strap on the boots, and a current NHL lockout isn’t going to change that.

Still, collectors with a treasure trove of autographs from current NHL stars better hope they get back on the ice soon to keep demand high for such items.

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