This week my local team sent out mailers to get season ticket holders to renew their seats for next year. Included in the mailer was a flyer indicating potential prizes for renews by a specific date and on the flyer included game worn jerseys.
Now, this specific instance isn’t what tipped me over the edge of collecting my local team, but it was definitely the straw. There has been a history leading up to this point:
Three years ago, our team had dual affiliation and was not very good. We hadn’t made the playoffs in the previous 2 years and our inaugural year we got knocked out in the first round. The team did a few unique model jerseys and auctioned them off for charity, but the 2nd half season regular season gamers would be found in the store after the season ended (Meigray had the first half). Mid-summer, you could still find players that made it up to the AHL, along with most of the team, with the exception of the few fan favorites that we had. You can still find a number of jerseys from the first 3 years on Meigray.
With the next year, I thought it could be helpful to the team and collectors from outside the area to try and get the team to make it more known and develop their game worn jersey program a bit, since they dropped their affiliation with Meigray. I emailed the merchandise manager about jerseys of players I would be interested in and was told to email near the end of the year and tried to talk to him about the program. It seemed he was willing to talk about availability but had no interest in concreting an actual program. When I emailed at the end of the year, I was told I would be placed on a list, and discovered that at that point, I was far enough down the list that the players I wanted were claimed. Without the Meigray affiliation, there were more jerseys on the rack than ever before.
With the store rack overflowing with jerseys at the beginning of the 2014-15 season, I reached out to the merchandise manager again about creating a program for jerseys and encouraging them to reach outside of just the locality. Falling on deaf ears, I took an inventory of what remained while I was in the store one day and published that list. Through a discounted group purchase, we were able to buy about half of the remaining jerseys and I started my list of players I would be interested in halfway through the season. Then, the team started winning.
The jerseys from previous years started to sell. Those of us that submitted players we would like to the list were told when the playoffs started, they would start to get distributed. The first few games of the playoffs, some of us started to notice jerseys that we had on our list being worn around the arena. We discovered some people that were not on the list ask employees at the arena about jerseys and were sold them before people on the list were handled. Out of 4 sets of jerseys, only 2 would be sold. One set given to the players for being the best team in the league for the regular season, and one set raffled the following year.
A goalie who dressed for our team as an emergency backup (his first ever professional hockey game) contacted me about the jersey he wore as he would like it since it was an incredible experience for him. I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to get him that jersey. Unfortunately that would be the set raffled off the following year.
I contacted the merchandise manager about the jerseys for raffle, explaining why I would like the schedule of jerseys and he directed me to someone else, who I also explained why I would like the schedule and what jersey I wanted, so I could give it to the player. That person responded with the first 5 jerseys and what game they would be raffled at but the jersey we were after was not on the list. I have emailed a few times since to track this jersey down and find out when it would be raffled but have had no success in any more responses.
Every year, the team does special jerseys. They are always auctioned after the game, except this year. For one of the sets, some of the jerseys were auctioned after the game, some were auctioned online, and others were raffled. If you wanted a specific player, you had to hope he wasn’t in the raffle and you knew which auction they would be in. Consistency.
Finally, to add more randomness into the mix, this flyer giving you a random game worn jersey.
As a collector, I like to choose what players and jersey models go into my collection. I also like knowing how to obtain said jerseys instead of guessing how its going to be released. There are too many teams that sell their jerseys in one specific way, every year, with no variance. When it becomes a hassle, as it seems to be now, I much rather wash my hands of it.
After receiving the flyer, I had enough and decided that continuing to collect this team was going to be more of a pain in the ass than it was worth. I announced to our memorabilia group that I would be done with is and I would be selling most of the jerseys of the team that I had, with the exception of a few I would wear to the games. (I’m still a fan of the team and I will still go to the games, I just wont be spending my money on adding their jerseys to my collection).
To my surprise (let’s be honest, I shouldn’t have been surprised, should I?), my announcement not only was met with collectors letting me know their interest in my jerseys, but also those deciding that I was an entitled asshole and was such a terrible person for deciding to no longer collect the team as I did not like the way they handled the sale of jerseys.
I should be supportive that they are randomly giving away jerseys to people because everybody gets a chance. If I don’t get what I want, I should give it away since I got it for free in a giveaway. Its absurd to sell a collection when you can no longer collect the way you would like to collect, that’s entitlement. Did I just justify myself on why I am making a decision I made, I’m now too touchy on the subject.
A fan of the team is different than a collector. I don’t add to my collection by chance. I have a scope of which I collect, and I like to expand my collection based on that scope. Why would I be satisfied getting something by chance that does not meet that scope? I call this a reallocation. I’m closing the scope of my collection that involved this team and reallocating those assets to a team that has a consistent way of releasing items I would like to add to my collection. I have effectively taken the guess work out of increasing my collection by eliminating the team out of my scope. Choice, its a wonderful thing.