For as long as the Diamondbacks have played at Bank One Ballpark/Chase Field, there have been "Team Shops" to sell the team’s merchandise. In the early years, there were "Team Shops" not only at the stadium but also around valley malls.
This, of course, made it easy for fans to pick up team merchandise at a location close to where they live. My wife of course hated the idea since it meant more outlets for me to visit and bring home “yet another piece of Diamondbacks gear”.
As the years rolled on, the team closed all of the Team Shops other than those at Chase Field. Even at the stadium it seemed as though the merchandising had fallen to the wayside just a bit.
Each season I have a goal to attend every home game played at Chase Field. It’s a noble goal, not an obsession as my wife suggests. My game day ritual includes watching batting practice and infield practice before taking a walk around the stadium to note anything new.
The final leg of this game day journey is a visit to the Team Shop. Usually I will first go to the pins display to see if the team has introduced any new hat pins that I haven’t bought. From there I go to hats, then outerwear (I’m still holding out hope that the team will produce a lined wind breaker in black and Sedona Red that is water resistant), and finally jerseys.
In most cases, the merchandise always seems to be the same. There may be a few new t-shirt designs but overall it just feels like the same old stuff all season long. Now I will be the first to admit I am probably not the target market for the Team Shop.
They seem to cater more to the fans who go to an occasional game or someone who doesn’t have an abundance of Diamondbacks merchandise. Still, I am always hopeful that the team will turn over their inventory more quickly and introduce new items.
During the first eight or nine years the cost of merchandise in the Team Shop seemed to be trending upward making it a very expensive place to shop. The Diamondbacks recently began selling a line of “Value Merchandise” that is an affordable price for all fans to have the ability to purchase items without breaking the bank.
I applaud this decision. While most of the value items are of lower price the quality is still quite high. The problem of course is lack of selection since the value items rarely change styles during the season.
So this morning when the Diamondbacks announced they had reached an agreement with Gameday Merchandising to be their retailing partner my interest was piqued. For those unfamiliar with Gameday Merchandising, they were the retailing partner for the recently concluded Vancouver Winter Olympics.
They usually offer a good selection of merchandise so hopefully we will begin seeing something new at the Team Shops at Chase Field. Shoppers and fans of the Phoenix Suns will recognize Gameday Merchandising as they are the vendor that runs the Team Shops at US Airways Center.
It is too early to gauge what this change will mean to Diamondbacks fans. For the team it provides them with an outsourced solution for all of their in-stadium merchandising. Gameday Merchandising plans to rearrange the look and feel of the Team Shops and promises to offer new and exclusive products and memorabilia.
As for me, they will win me over if they have new items for each home stand including merchandise such as fitted team hats with the Opening Day logo or All-Star game logo on the side. And please don’t forget pins to recognize opponents or special games and events. Oh, and I am still looking for that Sedona Red and Black lined wind breaker that zips in the front and is water resistant. Wow, I think I just created a new Christmas gift list.