At the end of last year, the hobby discovered that Fanatics would be taking over the NHL Auctions and also would be handling special event jerseys. Our first taste of Fanactics comes from the handling and sales of the World Cup of Hockey jerseys.
Since there was no official press release regarding the availability, sale, and schedule of the jerseys in the event, much of the information regarding the World Cup of Hockey jerseys had to be pieced together by the community, sourced by various outlets, such as equipment managers, Fanatics sales reps, and some accounts even being reported to come from the VP of Fanatics. With this information coming from so many sources being compiled into one place, we had to separate it into 2 classes, What We Know and What We Think We Know.
What We Know
Fanatics sold 1 set (home and away) direct, 1 set (home and away) through auction, and the players got to keep a set.
This information was original broadcast to collectors who contacted a sales rep regarding information on the available jerseys.
Jerseys would be tracked and a report would be available to identify when a jersey was worn.
The sales reps and the auctions indicated that a tracking method would be used to track the time the jerseys were used on the ice, however, the person who purchased the jersey would have to specifically request this information in order to obtain it.
Specific jerseys were not indicated at time of sale.
Fanatics did not disclose what ‘set’ was for sale or auction or when the propositioned jersey would be for sale. This means when you made your purchase, you could be purchasing a jersey worn at any time in any period.
A price list was not made publicly available.
When purchasing a jersey, sales reps were instructed to not distribute pricing lists. In order to obtain a price on a jersey, you had to specifically ask what the price was for a specific player. In some cases, sales reps asked what your budget was and would only offer jerseys that were in your disclosed budget. This tactic prompted the community to crowd source their own price list comprised of the quotes collectors were receiving which is viewable here.
Information in the auctions was intentionally left vague.
Some collectors are reporting that the auctions listed on NHL Auctions were intentionally left vague and it was also stated that given the opportunity, they would have been more vague on the direct sales. This statement is reported to come from as high up as the Vice President.
Jerseys that were purchased through auction or direct sales but not worn could be exchanged/refunded.
Sales reps and some auctions indicated that if a jersey was purchased but not actually worn that refunds or exchanges could be made. Some collectors report that this offer is only available by request and would not be prompted by Fanatics.
What We Think We Know
Exhibition games used a separate set of jerseys than what was sold/auctioned.
There have been reports from numerous collectors that they were informed either by sales reps or equipment managers that jerseys that were used during the exhibition games were not used as all during the tournament and group play, creating a 4th set of jerseys.
Player sets were worn during the projected last game the teams would play.
Some collectors are reporting that they were informed that the player set of jerseys would be worn if it was believed to be the teams last game. For example, Sweden and North America would wear theirs in the semi-final game.
Jerseys that were purchased at a higher price would be given the jersey that has seen more time on ice.
It is reported that when deciding which jersey will be used to satisfy purchases, the method (direct sale or auction) used to purchase that style (home or away) for the highest price would be given the jersey used for the most time on ice, meaning when you purchased a jersey, you were simply purchasing that model and not a specific set and could be subject to change based on the results of auctions.
Fanatics shares/sells customer data to teams.
A collector points out an article that indicates Fanatics as giving teams purchase information to teams for target marketing.
Many collectors were concerned throughout the sales and auction of these jerseys of conflicting or changing information that was being shared among collectors regarding the offering of the jerseys. A public statement was not released from Fanatics regarding the wear schedule, pricing of the jerseys, which set was being sold/auctioned and when, or even availability dates. The concern was that this information could be changed at any point in time throughout this process due to the limited information that was released.
Some collectors reported being quoted different prices than others, some had issues finding a sales rep at the begging of the direct sale offerings and the discovered information that the highest payer gets the jersey with the most wear reaffirmed the concern in most collectors.
One of the largest issues with this tactic is that with an unknown schedule, one jersey may be worn for one period while the other worn for a much larger number, the jersey sold at direct sale would have a set price which a collector would pay prior to the auction close, and the auction could ultimately end higher than the sale jersey, leaving the collector who purchased the jersey first, with the lesser of the two.
Without adjustments in the future regarding sales tactics, identification, and public information, it may be good practice to treat future offerings as “at-your-own-risk” purchases.