The Milwaukee Brewers have taken over operation of the Team Stores at Miller Park, a move that will lead to lower prices and better selection, a top executive said Tuesday.
The club assumed operation of the three stores from Delaware North, the company best known as the Miller Park food and beverage concessionaire.
“We look at retail as a branding opportunity and a branding mission,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “Nobody knows the Brewers brand better than the Brewers.”
The Brewers had discussed the move with Delaware North for some time — and the timing was not tied to the team’s surprising success on the field in 2018. The Brewers fell one game short of a trip to the World Series.
“It’s a growing trend in our industry for teams to be taking over retail,” Schlesinger said.
Delaware North will continue to oversee the Miller Park food and beverage operation.
The stores at Miller Park sell shirts, jerseys hats and other fan merchandise, but they’re part of a “greater mission” than just the product sales, Schlesinger said.
“It’s branding and having our fans wear our brand.”
During the offseason, only one Miller Park Team Store is open — located in the Hot Corner near the TGI Friday’s restaurant.
Fans won’t immediately notice major changes in the store offerings — but they are coming in time for the 2019 season, Schlesinger said. Prices, however, have already been cut on some items.
“Fans will notice greater variety and lower prices,” due to the absence of the middleman, Schlesinger said.
Schlesinger said Brewers gear is available in a wide variety of stores and at various price points. The Brewers want to claim some of that business.
“We are looking to appeal to the fan who has limited resources who also wants Brewers gear.”
The Brewers will be able to be more nimble with products and take some chances that weren’t possible with Delaware North, he said.
The Brewers don’t release sales figures, but Schlesinger said 2018 Team Store sales were “a frenzy.”
“The best news you can have for retail is a postseason run,” Schlesinger said.
“We went bold and bought extremely high volumes” of postseason merchandise, he said.
“Sales were unprecedented, even for us, and they exceeded 2011, the last time we made the playoffs.”
The Brewers will hold their annual Clubhouse Sale Friday and Saturday inside the visiting clubhouse at Miller Park. Hours are 8 a.m.- 8 p.m.
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