The National Basketball Association (NBA) is taking the sport to new heights this year with its first retail store, scheduled to open in New York in September.
‘The store is going to draw on all aspects of our game, from the arena to the playground and everything in between,’ says Bill Daugherty, vice president of business development at the NBA.
The NBA Store will span three floors and include more than 15,000 square feet of selling space that will showcase the most comprehensive selection of NBA and WNBA apparel and non-apparel products. Some items will be exclusive to the store. The NBA currently has nearly 170 licensees in categories ranging from apparel and sporting goods to home furnishings and school supplies. The store will be broken into sections such as a kids area, an apparel-driven team zone, a section for authentic clothing worn on the courts, and a gallery of photos and lithographs.
But ‘the heart and soul of the store,’ says Daugherty, will be an indoor half-court with bleachers that will host player and coach appearances, special events and other ongoing activities. ‘Throughout the day, every day, something will be going on on the court.’
Other interactive features will include broadcasts of live games and footage from the league’s library, and computers to check out its Web site (www.nba.com).
The NBA Store will be located at 666 Fifth Avenue, ‘one of the highest-profile retail streets in the world,’ says Daugherty. The NBA expects that as many of half of the store’s visitors will be from outside of the U.S.
The NBA store will not reduce the league’s efforts with other retailers. In fact, says Daugherty, a flagship store often boosts the amount of business for other retailers.
‘We also think it will make us a better licensor,’ says Daugherty, because one-on-one interaction with its customers will make the NBA more aware of what customers want and what the trends are and more sensitive to retailers’ needs.
No other stores are planned so far. The NBA is currently developing promotional efforts to get its first store off to a successful start.
Construction begins next month. The store interior is being designed by Richard Altuna, whose retail clients have included Gap and Ralph Lauren, and the architect is The Phillips Group.