Money Manziel: Dynamic Inconsistency and Projection Bias in NFL Draft Jersey Sales

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At almost every part of the year the NFL finds a way to dominate the American, and global, market. Last Friday, the NFL Draft took the top cable rating, over the NBA playoffs. The Draft, however, does not just bring in revenue from viewers. Merchandise, and the actual event in Chicago draw money from the fan’s pockets as well. Jersey sales, especially, skyrocket following the draft. As many fans know, Johnny Manziel jerseys eclipsed several prominent players to become the top selling jersey in the NFL’s first fiscal quarter last year, and even now it ranks third. Of course he hadn’t yet touched the field, and still hasn’t as a true starter. Why then, did fans throw $100.00 at an untested player? If they had just waited until the NFL season they could have at least known their jersey would never mirror any on the field.

There are two camps of people who buy Manziel jerseys: Manziel fans and Browns fans. When Roger Goodell climbed the podium to announce the draft picks, Manziel fans were eagerly awaiting the name of the team that would claim their beloved player. This group of people had already made up their mind to follow the kid they liked in college and would buy whatever jersey his name was on, no matter the team. The other group was the remaining Browns fans who endured countless losing seasons. These people just wanted something to inspire their hope in a failing franchise. Manziel represented that hope, and so they hopped aboard. Still, they could have waited. But stuck in such a massive rut, these fans saw any hope as a sure thing. Clearly, Manziel would provide the spark the Browns needed not the milquetoast Brian Hoyer.

Projection bias, however, does not wholly define the problem, these people obviously overvalued immediate gratification. If they waited until August, they would know that buying a Manziel jersey might not be the best idea. Looking to this year’s draft I see a similar situation unfolding.

The main drama of this year’s draft centered around whether Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston would be drafted first overall. Well, the Buccaneers took Winston first, followed immediately by the Titans grabbing Mariota. Both of these franchises appear very similar to the Browns, but most franchises with either the first or second overall picks are not doing so hot. Still, these two teams have been floundering for a few years now. A mere hour after the draft concluded, Winston jerseys went on sale on Twitter. As for Mariota, the Titan’s Pro Shop at LP field and an online retailer have sold 1,000 jerseys combined. NFL.com has not yet published their jersey sales.screen-shot-2015-04-30-at-6-54-11-pm

With such a heavy reliance on speculation it seems ludicrous to buy a jersey on draft day. While many people succumb to instant gratification and projection bias, many others remain too skeptical to purchase an unproven jersey. Schuylkill Valley Sports, offers optional insurance, $10, on NFL jerseys. It would reimburse the customer if the player is cut or traded. Though this is quite different from buying a jersey with the expectation that the player will start, this idea still alludes to a possible solution. By offering insurance on drafted players, the NFL can assure customers in their purchases. But they wouldn’t have an incentive to do so, since they would effectively lose revenue, especially in the case of Manziel.


Works Cited

ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

“Friday Cable Ratings: NFL Draft Coverage Tops Night + NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey & More.” TVbytheNumbers. N.p., 04 May 2015. Web. 06 May 2015.

Guy, Dumb. “Paradise Lost.” Screw You. 4th ed. Vol. 54. New York: Newer, 1350. 290-697. Print.

Mary Kay Cabot, Northeast Ohio Media Group. “Brian Hoyer Named Starter over Johnny Manziel for Cleveland Browns Opener in Pittsburgh.” N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Milton, John. The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton. Ed. William Kerrigan, John Peter Rumrich, and Stephen M. Fallon. New York: Modern Library, 2007. Print.

Rovell, Darren. ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Rowan, Tommy. “Eagles Fans Offered Insurance for Jersey Purchases.” Philly.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Sessler, Marc. “Browns’ Johnny Manziel Leads NFL in Jersey Sales.” NFL.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

“Top Selling NFL Jerseys.” Top Selling NFL Player Jerseys on NFLShop.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Wagner, Kurt. “The NFL Is Already Selling Jameis Winston’s Jersey — But Only on Twitter.” Recode. N.p., 30 Apr. 2015. Web. 06 May 2015.

Wright, Michael C. ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Wyatt, Jim. “Marcus Mariota Gives Titans Instant Buzz.” The Tennessean. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

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2 thoughts on “Money Manziel: Dynamic Inconsistency and Projection Bias in NFL Draft Jersey Sales

  1. I have always found this topic very interesting. People will rarely spend $100 on something that may on have a chance of being successful. You don’t see people throwing a $100 dollars at things like Televisions that might work. No, people buy things like televisions because they know they will work. When it comes down to it people gamble a little bit when they buy jerseys. But when you think about the typical NFL fans that attend games, they are probably more well off than average american. NFL tickets are expensive and spending $100 may not be a big deal for lots of fans. People buy jerseys because of their love for their teams and love for sport which could explain the gamble people take.

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  2. sheppadm says:

    I agree, when fans buy jerseys right after the draft, they are making a gamble on the player’s potential success. They are so confident that the player will turn out to be a star that they want to invest in the jersey early on, so they can tell everybody “I told you so” whenever they wear the jersey. There is also an element newness that makes purchasing a jersey right after the draft intriguing. Consumers always want latest and greatest items. When it comes to NFL jerseys, there isn’t any merchandise newer than the jerseys of those who were just drafted into the league. If a fan wanted to buy a veterans jersey, they could have done that at any time over the past several years, but right after the draft is the first opportunity for fans to buy the jerseys of this new group of players.

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