When this NFL season started, I noted how many more Peyton Manning No. 18 Colts jerseys there were at Lucas Oil Stadium on game days than the No. 12 of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck.
That’s not the case any more. As the fortunes of the Colts have risen this year and the No. 1 overall selection of this year’s draft proved himself on the field, the number of Luck jerseys in the stands and around central Indiana rose dramatically.
Officials for MainGate Inc., the Indianapolis company that handles Colts merchandise sales locally and online, recently told IBJ that 67 percent of all Colts jerseys sold this year are emblazoned with No. 12. Luck’s jersey outsells the second most popular Colt 10-to-1, according to CEO Dave Moroknek.
Luck’s jersey could be a more common sighting around town. With holiday shopping just ramping up, Moroknek said early indicators are that Luck’s Colts jersey will be the top-selling item this December.
Luck jerseys are also becoming popular outside this market.
Fanatics.com, a top seller of officially licensed sports apparel, reported that Luck’s jersey ranked eighth among all professional athletes in cyber Monday sales—ahead of such stars as New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
Luck’s popularity grew steadily this season, with his jersey No. 6 in sales among all NFL players, league officials said.
A few interesting names were ahead of Luck on the Fanatics.com top 10 list for cyber Monday. No. 1 was Robert Griffin III’s Washington Redskins jersey and No. 2 was Peyton Manning’s No. 18 Denver Broncos jersey.
Griffin was chosen second in this year’s draft behind Luck, and Manning is the player Luck replaced as Colts quarterback.
Sports marketers said Luck’s popularity has as much to do with his down-to-earth nature and carefully crafted public image as it does with his prowess on the football field.
Luck has been slow and methodical in his business deals, making his first big splash this fall with Riley Hospital for Children and this week coming out with a campaign for the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library.
“His play on the field and his likeability off the field are a perfect combination of a star player, and star players sell,” MainGate’s Moroknek said. “We are extremely fortunate to have a QB and person of his caliber to market and sell.”