Memorabilia dealers in Wisconsin say they aren’t happy to see Brett Favre retire, but admit his announcement to walk away from the NFL has been good for business at a time when football sales are normally pretty slow.
Mike Worachek of Packer City Antiques in Green Bay said the phone started ringing almost immediately after Favre’s retirement became official. “The stuff is flying off the shelf and I think it’s going to get better,” Worachek said. “It’s just getting started. It’s going to be a good run, but I think the hype is going to die down in a couple weeks. I hope it lasts over a month.”
Worachek noted that one customer bought “a bunch” of Favre’s McFarlane Sports Picks figures with the plan to sell them on eBay. “I guess that’s the American way,” Worachek said.
The number of Favre items available on eBay soared on Tuesday, with nearly 2,000 new listings for Favre items being added within four hours after news of the retirement was made public.
When asked about the best-selling Favre items over the past couple of days, Ken Carriveau of Stadium Sports & Memorabilia in Green Bay said it wasn’t possible to name any one item.
“We’re getting demand for everything,” Carriveau said. But he said he’s not sure about the supply of Favre autographs down the road. “He doesn’t do public signings anymore,” he said. “I just don’t know how much stuff will be available. Prices have gradually been going up the last several months. When the season picks up again, I don’t see him doing much signing anymore. From that perspective, the supply is going to dwindle dramatically.”
Rick Radtke, president of Radtke Sports, which handles Favre’s autograph and memorabilia dealings, doesn’t know what Favre’s future autograph plans will be. Even Radtke admits he was caught off guard by Favre’s decision not to return for 2008. “I never thought he’d quit,” Radtke said. “When he came back after a 4-12 season and an 8-8 season, I never thought he’d quit after a 13-3 season.”
The league is not only losing one of its all-time great players, but also one of its best movers of merchandise. This year, the NFL announced that the Favre had the league’s all-time best-selling jersey.
“Since the NFL is the most popular league in terms of licensed apparel, it’s logical to think that Favre has the best-selling jersey of all time, in all sports,” wrote Darren Rovell of CNBC.com. “What’s so amazing about Favre is that he plays in the league’s smallest market (by a longshot) and there’s nothing really special about that Packers jersey, which hasn’t changed in his 16 years with the team. Year after year, Favre ranked among the league’s best sellers. At some point, the entire world who wanted to own a Brett Favre jersey had one, didn’t they? Well, obviously not.”