NBA

Coming Soon: NBA Logos on Food

| by Sports Nickel

How’d I miss this story? Not only can you wear your favorite team logos, but now, you can eat them as well.

From a USA Today story and a LA Weekly blog, the recessions has forced the NBA to think outside the box, and inside your stomach. Retail sales of licensed merchandise is down, falling 17% last year, but they’re guessing your appetite is robust as ever. So why not eat and support your teams at the same time?

“Most Americans don’t make it to an NBA game,” says Rick Ellison, the licensee who makes Pizza Fest Edible Image toppings, which will be available next season for all 30 teams, are made of sugar, starch and food coloring, and will add about $5 to the pizza price. “This is how they create the experience for themselves.” If you don’t want to eat your logo, you can grill your food on an outdoor grill painted Celtics green, or go the toaster route, our personal favorite. Of course you’ll probably have to have a whole cabinet full of different toasters, depending on who your favorite team meets in which round, but hey, that’s the price of being a fan.

From the USA Today story:

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NBA executives say global merchandise sales will reach $3 billion this year, up slightly.

“It’s still tough times out there,” says Mayer. “This is not going to make up for the overall loss in the apparel business.”

Boosting revenue means expanding the fan base and creating buzz. “As key licensing categories have matured, it’s an ongoing goal of the NBA to expand the brand into places that may attract new customers,” says Sal LaRocca, head of global merchandising. That includes food, he adds, because “A lot of people watching NBA games on TV tend to eat.”

Among the NBA’s edible items:

•Pizza. The logos, to be available next season for all 30 teams, are made of sugar, starch and food coloring. They’ll add about $5 to the pizza price.

The logos won’t be sold directly to consumers but to some 1,200 independent pizza parlors nationwide. The paper-thin logos come in 12-pack resealable pouches. The image is placed atop the pizza after it has been fully baked and sliced. The logo then melts into the cheese.

“Most Americans don’t make it to an NBA game,” explains Rick Ellison, the licensee who makes Pizza Fest Edible Image toppings. “This is how they create the experience for themselves.”

•Toaster logos. Also available next month: NBA Pro Toast Toasters. These $34.99 toasters are specially made to “burn” golden brown team logos onto bread as it toasts. “It’s a fun way to get kids to eat healthier,” says Deborah Williams, president of Her Game 2, the licensee.

Coming next year, she says: team logo panini sandwich presses.

I guess if you’re watching the game at a bar that serves pizza, a logo on it would be kind of cool for novelty purposes, but I don’t think I’d ever go out of my way to get a logo on anything I’m eating. But I’m guessing lots of people will, and the NFL and MLB will not be far behind, especially with all the diehard fans out there.