Financial Favre: What's the impact?

Brett Favre sent a wave of excitement through Vikingsland by signing on Tuesday. His presence immediately boosted ticket and jersey sales, but there are still plenty of tickets available.

Steve LaCroix has never seen a day like Tuesday.

The Vikings' vice president of sales and marketing said on Tuesday afternoon the Brett Favre signing had already generated 2,000 season-ticket sales and 6,000 single-game ticket sales less than six hours after his signing. By 10 p.m., that number had risen to 2,500 season-ticket sales and 8,000 single-game sales.

"Very exciting day. Almost from the first minute of reports this morning they started to kick in," LaCroix said. "Obviously a positive day on the sales front."

The numbers are sure to go up as sales vehicles like TicketMaster are able to catch up with demand, but tickets are still available for every home game. The team had about 10,000 tickets left for many games before the sales surge on Tuesday.

"(TicketMaster is) setting up additional infrastructure to handle the volume for ticket transactions and it's been great. Every ounce of our staff and every energy is going to try to maintain and manage the level of interest," LaCroix said.

"I don't think there's really been a day in Vikings past history where (we've had) this kind of volume for season tickets in one single day. There's been some seasons, like in 1998, where obviously it really took off, but I think that was really over a number of weeks."

The Vikings had two-game ticket packages that featured the Green Bay and San Francisco home games as a two-game ticket package. That two-game package sold out quickly on Tuesday, and the team moved the Green Bay game into the season-ticket package only.

The Vikings are hopeful that the Favre signing will alleviate a season-long concern over potential blackouts. Several games last year came down to the wire and needed corporate buyouts to keep the games on television in the local market.

"I thought, How great it would be for our fans to have a team that continues to compete at the highest level," Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said. "... We felt the opportunity was now to do it. We did not want to go into the future as say, ‘What if?' I think speaking to Brett he felt the same way. I think the fans and everyone should be quite excited about how our team keeps improving. We will do our best to fight for our division and hopefully be that consistent championship-caliber ball club."

Then there is the impact on jersey sales. The team's web site and official stores – Vikings Locker Rooms located in Mall of America, Rosedale and Ridgedale – were taking pre-orders on Favre's No. 4 Vikings jersey. An overnight delivery on a couple thousand jerseys is expected to arrive in those stores Wednesday morning, with a few thousand more each of the following days as the Reebok factory producing them in Indianapolis churns them out.

"Once we had (the jersey number) confirmed internally from Coach (Brad) Childress and we were off and running and Reebok could get after it. They have some experience there based on some past years with various players and so there is a system in place, but they don't want to get ahead of it becoming a reality," LaCroix said.

"It's just a matter of production time and shipping capabilities. But there is a truck driving overnight from Indianapolis. So get out of the way."

Fans weren't in the mood to get out of the way of Childress' SUV when he pulled up to Winter Park with Brett Favre in the passenger's seat around noon on Tuesday. Players watched the action from inside the practice facility on a television in the lunch room.

"It's fun to be part of this and have the fans react the way that they did. To see them outside lining the streets was something unexpected, but obviously pretty cool," LaCroix said. "We're just trying to make sure that we manage the level of interest. We want to sustain the level of interest. We want to sustain the business and not just make a quick spike. We think being in the Dome on game day is the place to be and hopefully the fans realize that and it's going to be a lot of fun."

And it should be a profitable move. Last year, the New York Jets sold about 200,000 Favre jerseys, LaCroix said, when he was traded to their team from the Packers.

"He was right up there at the top of jersey sales and so we're ready," LaCroix said. "Reebok has had another year of experience of dealing with this sort of turnaround, so we feel we're in a good spot."


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this hot topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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