Colts open overhauled stadium store with new vendor

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The Colts Pro Shop at Lucas Oil Stadium will have a grand re-opening Wednesday under the management of Lids Sports Group.

In a deal finalized earlier this year, Lids now handles team and NFL merchandise at the Colts’ brick-and-mortar and online stores.

A universal digital inventory system that links customers to goods in more than a thousand Lids Sports Group stores helped the firm wrestle the Indianapolis Colts business away from locally based MainGate Inc., a national player in its own right.

MainGate had handled Colts merchandise sales since Lucas Oil Stadium opened seven years ago. Team officials have declined to elaborate on why Lids was selected over MainGate.

“Lids’ reach is certainly one of the things that really appealed to us,” Colts Chief Operating Officer Pete Ward told IBJ.

Lids, which has made a significant push into team sales in recent years, is hopeful the Colts deal will help it grow that line of business.

Lids Sports Group currently holds contracts with 15 teams, accounting for 57 specialty stores. Lids team clients include Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals; National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers; NASCAR; and Ohio State University, Purdue University and the University of Kansas.

The Colts deal represents Lids' biggest splash in the NFL.

“Lids Sports Group has become a leading sports retailer across North America and working with the Colts helps us further solidify our position with sports fans here in our home town,” said Ken Kocher, Lids Sports Group President.

Lids began a major remodel of the Colts Pro Shop at Lucas Oil Stadium after the NCAA men’s Final Four April 4-6.

The Pro Shop, Lids officials said, now features a renovated floor plan and a larger variety of apparel, including more women’s and children’s items and customized caps. In addition to the larger merchandise selection, the Colts Pro Shop now offers fans a customized shopping experience with a custom jersey ordering kiosk and jersey rollercoaster.

Lids is kicking off the grand reopening of the stadium store Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. with appearances by the Colts’ mascot and cheerleaders, special contests, free rally towels with a purchase and discounted items.

“The partnership [with Lids] is a reflection of our desire to provide the best experience for our fans. We wanted to partner with a local company that offered our fans a variety of quality merchandise, while also providing them with excellent customer service and cutting edge technology,” Colts co-owner Carlie Irsay-Gordon said in a statement.

Lids is working on additional Colts retail sales outlets and hopes to have those open “in the near future,” company officials said. Lids plans include opening a new mall-based Colts store as well as implementing the technology to improve Colts fan’s overall retail experience.

Shortly after Lids took over merchandising for the Colts, the team’s shop at Circle Centre Mall closed. That store will re-open under Lids management in early August, Ward told IBJ Wednesday. Lids officials said other mall-based stores and kiosks are still under consideration.

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