The Toronto Raptors are the NBA’s 10th-most popular team—at least according to merchandise sales.
The data comes to us courtesy the NBA, who have helpfully tracked sales of jerseys and merchandise from the NBA store throughout the second half of the season:
Now, as you can see, no Raptors made the top 10 in jersey sales. But that’s to be expected, following an underwhelming, non-playoff season in Tampa, when no Raptors made the All-Star or All-NBA teams. I thought maaaayyybe Yuta Watanabe might sneak in to the top 15, thanks to international sales! Alas.
I would imagine that Watanabe’s presence and larger role in the second half of the season contributed to the team landing 10th in overall merchandise sales. And, you know what, it’s entirely possible that the team being in Tampa helped too! Surely there were at least a few Tampa residents (Tampaites? Tamponians?) who picked up a shirt or hat to wear to a game. If the team had been in Toronto with no fans, maybe they don’t even crack the top 10? I know for me, after buying so much (seriously, so much) merchandise during the title season and the victory lap season, I didn’t buy much last year — although I did splurge on a black Lowry authentic jersey!
Either way, it’s kinda neat to see that the brand remains strong. Should the team return to Toronto, with fans in attendance, and perhaps an exciting young lottery pick to boot, you can bet that sales will pick up even more. And if Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet continue their strong play, and OG Anunoby continues his rise, you’ll be seeing more of their jerseys for sure.
Speaking only for myself, after a year of feeling like I might never want to be in a crowd again, now that vaccinations are here and COVID case counts are going down... I’m actually really looking forward to getting back to the Scotiabank Arena to watch a game, fully decked out in Raptors attire!
Did you buy any Raptors merch this past season? And do you think you’ll buy more next year if the team comes home — and bounces back to form? Let us know!