The NBA store at 545 Fifth Avenue
|Owner||National Basketball Association|
The NBA Store is a chain of officially licensed retailers which sell merchandise for the National Basketball Association (NBA). The most prominent of these stores is located in the United States on Fifth Avenue and 45th Street, Manhattan, New York. There are seven other locations outside the United States: one in Milan, Italy, two in Beijing, China, one in Taipei, Taiwan, and three in the Metro Manila; the newest store in Cebu City, Philippines.
The New York location is run by online retailer Fanatics, who also runs the League's online store at NBAStore.com. The NBA Store sells over 35,000 pieces of NBA merchandise and features several attractions; it is often visited by players, celebrities, and political leaders. It also serves as a headquarters for the NBA where the association hosts charity events.
Since opening its first store in 1998, the NBA has seen increasing business opportunities in foreign markets mainly due to the influx of new international players. The biggest growth has been in China, where players Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian, combined with the interest generated by the 2008 Summer Olympics, created enough demand to open two new stores. The NBA has also expanded into games like Second Life where it created a virtual NBA Store in 2007.
The original Fifth Avenue store closed on February 13, 2011. The league temporarily relocated the store in a smaller space at 590 Fifth Avenue until August 2015. The new location, at 545 Fifth Avenue, opened on December 21, 2015.
New York City
Established in the fall of 1998, the 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) store offers free video games, TV screens displaying live broadcasts and game action footage, and other attractions, like player measurement charts. Among its many products, the store sells current NBA & WNBA jerseys, replica jerseys of retired players, footwear, collectibles, photography, and other gifts. It has several departments, such as a home section, where customers can buy items like pillows, plates, and other NBA related items. NBA employees, including players, receive a 30% discount on their purchases.
It's really meant to be in the world's most important city and the most complete collection of N.B.A. products and experiences staged in one place.— Rick Welts, chief marketing officer of the N.B.A.
Construction involved removing beams to make space for a 36-by-54-foot hole in the bottom three floors of the existing 41 story building.
Steve Candeloro has been the store's concierge since it opened in 1998. The store is frequently visited by celebrities, tourists, and NBA players who are in town to play the New York Knicks or New Jersey Nets. The NBA Store has been visited by important guests such as former President Bill Clinton, and the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who received a personal tour by NBA Commissioner David Stern. The store is also host to The NBA Store Concert Series, concert events where musical artists perform at the store's half court; some previous performers include: Michelle Branch, Destiny's Child, Run DMC, and Aaron Carter.
The NBA Store in New York City allowed its customers to rent areas for birthday parties or other private celebrations and has hosted charity events in the past. During Christmas 2006, the wife of NBA player Dwyane Wade volunteered at the NBA Store Holiday Toy Drive. The New York Knicks regularly held events like Autographs for Supplies at the NBA Store where New York players like Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, and WNBA's Kym Hampton meet fans and signs items in an effort to raise school supplies for children and stress academics. In 2007, the store held a fashion exhibition to celebrate the Casual Male Retail Group acquisition of the men's big & tall clothing company Jared M., a company popular among athletes and celebrities for its custom sportswear; several NBA players were happy to show their support since the founder had fitted many of them in the past.
|1.||Dwyane Wade||Kobe Bryant||Kevin Garnett|
|2.||LeBron James||Dwyane Wade||Kobe Bryant|
|3.||Allen Iverson||LeBron James||Allen Iverson|
|4.||Kobe Bryant||Allen Iverson||LeBron James|
|5.||Stephon Marbury||Carmelo Anthony||Steve Nash|
|6.||Shaquille O'Neal||Steve Nash||Dwyane Wade|
|7.||Tracy McGrady||Vince Carter||Gilbert Arenas|
|8.||Carmelo Anthony||Gilbert Arenas||Dirk Nowitzki|
|9.||Vince Carter||Shaquille O'Neal||Stephon Marbury|
|10.||Ben Wallace||Stephon Marbury||Carmelo Anthony|
|11.||Tim Duncan||Dirk Nowitzki||Kevin Durant|
|12.||Dirk Nowitzki||Tracy McGrady||Paul Pierce|
|13.||Paul Pierce||Paul Pierce||Tracy McGrady|
|14.||Steve Nash||Chris Paul||Dwight Howard|
|15.||Amar'e Stoudemire||Tim Duncan||Chris Paul|
|† Combined sales at the NBA Store in New York City and NBAStore.com|
In 2007, the most sold team paraphernalia were from the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and the 2006 NBA champions the Miami Heat. The following year, the Lakers and Knicks retained their top spots, but the Heat were replaced by the new 2008 NBA champions the Boston Celtics.
The NBA Store's main outlet in New York City was closed on February 13, 2011, due to high rent. "The amount of dollars the landlord is requiring from the next tenant, we couldn't find a way to make it work," NBA executive vice president of global merchandising Sal LaRocca said. While the league searched for a new location  the store operated temporarily at 590 Fifth Avenue until August 2015. The store reopened at its new permanent location at 545 Fifth Avenue on December 21, 2015.
The NBA also sells its products outside the United States, most notably in China. The NBA's international operations only provide 10 percent of total profit; however, the NBA has seen a recent increase in possible business opportunities abroad.
Statistics revealed that 300 million out of China's 1.3 billion population played basketball, additionally "83 percent of males between 15 to 61 years old are interested in the game," and the NBA was reported to be "the most popular sports league in the country." In 2006, it was reported that the NBA was planning to open its first store in Beijing, China (on Wangfujing Street) or Shanghai, China. Partly due to Yao Ming (1st overall pick in 2002) and Yi Jianlian's (6th overall pick in 2007) popularity in their home country, the NBA now sells its products in some 30,000 to 50,000 retail locations in China. During the 2006 season the NBA broadcast its games in 215 countries and had 83 foreign players, about a quarter of the total players. In 2008, it had 75 players from 32 different countries.
On January 14, 2008, the NBA announced the formation of NBA China ("a joint venture of the NBA, broadcaster ESPN and Chinese companies"), "that will conduct all of the league's businesses in Greater China", the new entity will be led by Tim Chen (former CEO of Microsoft Greater China). In preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics in China, the NBA opened a flagship store in Beijing; the JuneYao Group was chosen to lead marketing operations for the retail chain-store.
The NBA currently has two stores in China (both in Beijing) and according to CEO Chen plans to expand "up to 1,000 in the next five years." The first store was opened on July 15, 2008; it has "300 square meters of retail space" and sells about 400 different items; about 1,000 people showed up for the opening. According to the International Herald Tribune, merchandise sales in China were expected to increase by 60 percent in 2008. About one third of the traffic received at nba.com comes from their Chinese area (china.nba.com) written in Mandarin built by the Plus Factory, a New York City firm with offices in Beijing.
Reports on NBA jersey sales over the last three years (2006–2009) reveal that Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is the most sold jersey in China; however, Yao Ming fell from 6th to 10th and then back to 6th while his Houston Rockets teammate Tracy McGrady remained ranked third for two straight seasons then fell to fourth in 2009.
|2008–09||Kobe Bryant||LeBron James||Kevin Garnett||Tracy McGrady||Dwyane Wade||Yao Ming||Chris Paul||Allen Iverson||Dwight Howard||Carmelo Anthony|
|2007–08||Kobe Bryant||Kevin Garnett||Tracy McGrady||Paul Pierce||Allen Iverson||Gilbert Arenas||LeBron James||Dwyane Wade||Dwight Howard||Yao Ming|
|2006–07||Kobe Bryant||Allen Iverson||Tracy McGrady||Dwyane Wade||LeBron James||Yao Ming||Kevin Garnett||Tim Duncan||Carmelo Anthony||Gilbert Arenas|
The MMORPG Second Life, an Internet-based virtual game world, offers its members the option of playing or shopping at a digital replica of the NBA Store. The 3-D virtual replica was launched on May 1, 2007, during the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers as a way of reaching the global audience and expanding the NBA's business in the virtual world. The virtual NBA Store is part of the NBA's virtual headquarters; other facilities include a T-Mobile arena where player's avatars can take pictures or watch Finals footage on a JumboTron. At the time of its launch, the NBA was the "first professional sports league to unveil a comprehensive headquarters in a virtual world." The virtual store's entrance is modeled after the New York City location, featuring the same double revolving doors and gold NBA lettering.
In 2004, the NBA Live series for home video game consoles introduced an EA NBA Store feature, where players can purchase digital shoes and jerseys with points earned through the completion of in-game tasks.
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- NBA.com/NYCstore, – Official Site at NBA.com, offers a virtual tour of the New York Store.
- China.NBA.com/nbastore – Site of the NBA's Chinese Store (in Mandarin)