For Sale: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies, Jerseys, Cards, Tickets, Videogames
Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 10:49PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in Brycwe Harper, MLB, MLB, Philadelphia Phillies, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

March 3, 2019: Bryce Harper has bought into the Philadelphia Phillies, and now the Phillies and MLB are seeking to get Philadelphia and the rest of the baseball world to buy into him.

It appears to be an easy sell.

Harper signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the team this past Friday (March 1), and it only took the weekend for the team and its marketing department  — as well as MLB and partners — to respond.

His No. 3 jersey is up-and-running on the team’s Web site, MLBShop.com and Fanatics.com ($119.99).

According to Fanatics, Philadelphia Phillies merchandise sales are up 5,000% over last year at this time, and Harper’s Phillies jersey “is the No. 1-selling jersey of all -time in any sport for any player during the first 24 hours of a launch.”

He opted not to request the No. 34 he wore for seven seasons with the Washington Nationals (Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle was an idol, Mantle wore No. 7 with the New York Yankees, 3+4=7) because, as Harper said, “I thought (the late) Roy Halladay should be the last one to wear it (with the Phillies).”

Although No. 34 has been worn since Halladay (who died in 2017 in a plane crash and was posthumously elected to the Hall of Fame this year) left the Phillies in 2013, according to the team, Harper’s sense of baseball history has unofficially retired Halliday’s No. 34 with the Phils.

“It’s a special day at the ballpark — it’s officially Bryce Harper Day,” Francis Winkey, senior merchandise manager for the Phillies New Era Team Store said in a clip posted on the team’s Web site. “We’ve had product, just waiting for it to be official.

“Once we knew his number, we were able to the No. 3 on a jersey, and put it up for sale. And every day we are getting new (Harper) products In.”

The Phillies said they sold more than 180,000 tickets in the days after signing Harper.

Opening  Day is March 28 against the Atlanta Braves (NBC 10 in Philadelphia), with the four-game set scheduled to get some national air time, including Saturday March 30 on FS1 and Sunday Night Baseball (March 31) on ESPN.

MLB the Show 19 from Sony Entertainment for PlayStation4 initially released a mock cover with Harper in a nondescript grey hoodie, but has now updated it to show him in his Phillies uniform and cap.

"I’m official!” Harper posted to his Twitter page (more than 1 million followers) with shot of the new cover. “The new @phillies cover will be on shelves for @mlbtheshow launch day on 3/26."

An intro trailer, released in November in which Harper is seen on the field in his Nationals uniform, asks, “Which jersey will Bryce wear on the final cover?”

“Certainly the story of the day, and on everybody’s mind is what does the future hold for Bryce Harper?” says a voiceover in the MLB the Show 19 spot. “For an individual player this is the biggest story of the off-season.

“Where will he end up? We don’t know. He doesn’t know. But time will tell.”

His resume follows: “Six-time All-Star. 2015 NL MVP. 2018 Home Run Derby champion. The hair.”

Topps has unveiled Bryce Harper Phillies posters and a limited Harper Topps NOW card.

The card front shows Harper in his new Phillies jersey.

The back of the Topps Now card reads: “3/2/19 Bryce Harper signed the largest deal in MLB history, agreeing to a 13-year, $330-million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. The 26-year-old outfielder has been among the most talented hitters in the League since he debuted in 2012, totaling 184 home runs and an elite .388 on-base percentage.”

FOCO has unveiled what it called the “first two officially licensed bobbleheads to feature Harper in Phillies gear.”

The Bryce Harper Game of Thrones Iron Throne Bobblehead is part of the recently launched MLB Game of Thrones collection, and features Harper sitting on the famous Iron Throne.

A Bryce Harper “Welcome to Philadelphia” billboard bobblehead features Harper in his new Phillies uniform posing in front of a sign that welcomes the All-Star slugger to his new home.

“Bryce Harper is one of baseball’s most dynamic players, so it’s no surprise that Phillies fans are excited to have him as part of their team” Matthew Katz, licensing manager for FOCO, said via the company.

“It was a long off-season waiting for this decision and nothing makes this announcement more official than having a Bryce Harper bobblehead in Philadelphia Phillies pinstripes.”

Anticipate new creative and/or gear from such marketing partners as Gatorade, Under Armour and New Era.

Harper Named Cover Athlete For MLB The Show 19

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