Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Iverson Trade: Retail Ramifications

Les Moonves

With Allen Iverson on his way to the Denver Nuggets, let’s tell you how this will break down in the retail world.

First, let’s look at jersey sales.

I predict that by the end of the season, Allen Iverson’s Denver Nuggets jersey will challenge the big three – Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant – for the most popular jersey in the NBA.

Despite playing with the Sixers for so long, Iverson’s fan base has been so rabid that he’s managed to stay one of the best sellers in the league; and last year, he actually was one of two players (the other being Tracy McGrady) that beat out Yao Ming in terms of jersey sales in China, according to the NBA.

Now, let’s look at shoe sales.

Red rules the shoe world. Jordan established it and all the big shoe guys play on red teams – LeBron, Dwyane, T-Mac, and formerly, Iverson.

But that Denver Nuggets-UCLA blue has certainly caught on thanks in great part to Carmelo Anthony. With a shoe of that color, Reebok – which hasn’t quite been the same since it was acquired by Adidas – has a chance to make a dent in Carmelo’s Jordan brand sales.

Assume that Reebok will add a fourth colorway – the Nuggets blue - to its plans for the Answer X Pumps with Iverson on the team.

Now let’s look at marketing.

Iverson hasn’t really done much save for video games and his Reebok deal; and being in Denver certainly isn’t going to help him, unless that is, the Nuggets make a run to the title.

I also get a sense that Iverson doesn’t want to do much with corporate work, but if he wants to do something, now is a great time. He’s got a window to do some solid local work that would have could have been considered for Carmelo Anthony.

Cover It Up:

Meanwhile, in Carmelo news, one of my favorite blogs and favorite books, Freakonomics, reports that Northwest Airlines might have Carmelo Anthony on its cover this month, but the pulled the story off its Web site in light of the recent events. The story is about "all the good things that Anthony has been doing to give back to his community." Freakonomics co-author Steven Leavitt has the cached version to show us exactly what they pulled.

I called Northwest Airlines and they gave me this statement:

"The December issue of WorldTraveler, Northwest Airlines’ complimentary in-flight magazine, includes a feature story on National Basketball Association (NBA) star Carmelo Anthony.

Following the NBA’s suspension of Mr. Anthony, several of his Denver Nugget teammates, and some members of the New York Knicks for fighting during last Saturday’s game, Northwest has elected to remove the publication from its planes.

Northwest does not want to appear to condone in any way the behavior of some of the players during Saturday’s game, including Mr. Anthony, by continuing to offer the current edition of WorldTraveler. The story was developed long before this event occurred, and the publication was placed on Northwest aircraft on December 1.

As a replacement, Northwest will provide its customers with the January 2007 edition of WorldTraveler early, beginning this weekend."

Questions?  Comments?