January 17, 2014 in Business, City

Seahawks in Super Bowl would be big score for business

By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photoBuy this photo

Seahawks fan Matt Daly looks at a No. 12 fan jersey and a No. 11 Percy Harvin jersey at Sport Town in downtown Spokane on Thursday. Daly was shopping for his son, Samuel, who is home on leave this weekend from the U.S. Navy. Ten members of Daly’s family plan to wear Seahawks jerseys for a group photo. Daly said he will be wearing quarterback Russell Wilson’s No. 3 jersey.
(Full-size photo)

Going ‘Blue’

Several businesses have made today “Blue Friday,” with workers wearing Seahawks jerseys. Starbucks is offering customers 12-cent coffee drinks if they come to stores in Seahawks gear or wearing team colors.

For owners of local businesses selling beer, soft drinks, snacks, pizza, team apparel or high definition TV sets, this year’s Super Bowl might hold a super payoff.

If the Seattle Seahawks win on Sunday, business owners and managers say they’ll have no trouble moving mounds of Seahawks gear and selling pallets of beverages in preparation for the big game on Feb. 2.

Kathy Wride, manager of the Colfax branch of Columbia Bank, wanted her staff to wear Seahawks shirts Thursday and today as “Blue Days.” Thinking local, she tried to find the shirts Wednesday at the Wal-Mart in Pullman. When that store didn’t have what she wanted, Wride drove to Sport Town in downtown Spokane. Thirty minutes later, she’d paid $270 for seven Seahawks T-shirts.

Odom Corp., one of the largest distributors of beer and pop in the Northwest, is gearing up for extra shipments of beverages to stores across Eastern Washington if the Seahawks win Sunday.

“Normally, our three biggest weeks (for sales) are Halloween, Memorial Day and Fourth of July,” said Gary Wood, sales manager.

This year the Super Bowl could push up to near the top of the list if the Seahawks play, he said.

“Sales will go up 15 to 20 percent above the usual Super Bowl weekends in sales, just based on what I saw happen when I lived in Wisconsin when the Packers went to the Super Bowl,” he said.

Stores selling TVs are used to a traditional pre-Super Bowl sales boost, as game-watchers upgrade their home entertainment systems.

Spokane’s Huppin’s TV, Audio and Camera has put a big bet on the Seahawks getting to the game. It has ordered close to 200 new high-definition TVs, said company president Murray Huppin.

“I’m bullish on the Seahawks,” Huppin said. If they’re in the Super Bowl, people hosting parties or consumers on the fence about upgrading their home video sets will be looking for deals, he said.

Another Spokane electronics retailer, Video Only, has a more modest goal. That north Spokane store can count on selling at least another 20 TV sets than it would otherwise, said sales manager Troy Lightfoot.

Fans who want to watch outside their homes will be flocking to popular hangouts.

Even though the Seahawks haven’t clinched a spot in the big game, partygoers aren’t waiting to make reservations, said William Webster. His north Spokane club, Webster’s Saloon, has nearly maxed out all 130 table reservations for the game, he said.

Jennifer Meese, a supervisor at the Sport Town apparel shop, expects sales to get a bit crazier on Monday if the team beats San Francisco.

The store is seeing customers not blinking, buying $100 and $135 Seahawks jerseys.

Two premium jerseys priced at $250 each – nearly identical to the team’s shirts in detail and type of fabric – haven’t sold.

Not yet. Meese said if the Hawks win they’ll sell before Feb. 2.

“They’re expensive, but they’re the kind of shirt somebody would get autographed and then frame,” she said.

Also hoping for a Seahawks win is KAYU-TV, the Spokane-based Fox Network affiliate that will broadcast the game.

All but two of the local commercial spots given to KAYU have been sold, with each spot starting at $10,000.

If the Seahawks win this week, every advertiser will be told the old price will be revised upward by about 80 percent, said station General Manager Doug Holroyd.

That’s a common practice – the bump rate – when selling spots for events that carry huge audience appeal.

“We have those two spots on the shelf. And if the Seahawks win, there will be a feeding frenzy,” he said.

This is the kind of situation that a local TV station calls a budget-maker, he added.

Two decades ago, Holroyd worked as a TV salesman on the floor of now-defunct Good Guys Television in Spokane.

He recalled that all his sales colleagues looked at the weeks before the Super Bowl as a golden opportunity.

“Those guys working the sales floors refused to take days off before the game,” he said. “They’d all want to work from 9 to 9. Because they all knew there was a lot of money to be made.”

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