Selling souvenirs is a risky business, especially when a championship is in the balance. Whether it be the World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, or NBA Finals, fans will be wanting to purchase commemorative shirts, caps or pennants after the final whistle blows. Sales people have to be ready with the merchandise, so naturally, a certain number of items are printed in advance reflecting each team as the winner. Once the game is over, what happens to the “incorrect” merchandise?
The non-official stuff will be no doubt hawked on the cheap. Immediately after Super Bowl XL, for instance, vendors were selling Seattle Seahawks towels four for $1; prior to the game they’d been $5 a throw. Officially licensed merchandise, of course, is another story. Major League Baseball shreds and destroys the losing team’s shirts. Both the National Football League and the National Basketball Association donate their unsellable shirts and hats to charities that distribute them to citizens living in impoverished and underdeveloped countries.
So if you ever see a photo from a third-world nation depicting a child wearing a 1994 World Series jacket, don’t panic. You didn’t miss anything.