Chicago Sky fans are struggling to get their hands on WNBA championship clothing, and retailers say supply chain disruptions, limited distributors and a general lack of recognition for women’s sport are to blame.
Fans across town have seen a shortage of clothing celebrating the Chicago basketball team for their recent championship.
Brian Panganiban, who runs the social media fan page The Sky Show CHI, even posted a online guide directing fans to their best bet for Sky merchandise in Chicago.
“Merchandise, shirts and all that stuff is such an important part of the fandom,” said Panganiban, who launched the #WNBAWeNeedMerch social media hashtag on Twitter to mobilize the team base to ask for more. clothes, especially after a championship win.
And online, Sky’s online store is currently unable to ship goods. Due to a high volume of orders, fans can expect their merchandise to ship as early as next week, the website said.
Meanwhile, the city’s sporting goods stores say they answer multiple calls a day for merchandise but don’t have the supply in stock.
“There has been a year round demand for them to play, it’s just the companies coming back to us and then the shortage issues with everything that is going on in this world,” said Josh Ganal, 38. , co-owner of Grandstand Sports in Bridgeport.
Ganal said the disruption of the pandemic era has made it difficult for many sporting goods stores in the region to purchase Sky products. Ganal is still waiting for news from suppliers Nike and New Era to see if it is still possible to put the Sky outfit on its shelves.
But retailers also say representatives of clothing distributors haven’t reached out enough.
“We really don’t have a lot of reps calling us,” said Dan Hardman, director of Pro Jersey Sports at Bolingbrook. “I would honestly say the companies dropped the ball. I can turn around and get a White Sox jersey in the blink of an eye, but as far as the WNBA goes, there really are maybe only two companies that even emailed.
There is at least one store where you can find equipment. At Dick’s Sporting Goods store on North and Clybourn avenues, approximately 50 shirts are in stock, but there is a hard limit of one per person.
Small retailers like Ganal and Hardman are left on the hunt for Sky clothing amid manufacturing delays. Hardman says if he placed an order for the merchandise, he wouldn’t receive the shipment until Christmas.
“It’s months and months of wait after wait; it’s just not worth it at this point, ”he said.
For fans like Panganiban, merchandise is important in helping the team get the recognition they deserve.
“A lot of people don’t know about it yet,” he said. “Wearing hats, wearing shirts in public, people are going to remember, like ‘Oh yeah, there’s a WNBA team here. Oh yeah, this team won the championship.
Despite the difficulties in getting the Sky Championship jerseys off the backs of fans this year, Ganal is confident that the Sky jerseys will find a place on his shelf next year.
“It’s not even a bet. Still every day we get calls for stuff from Sky, ”he said. “It’s something that here in our store we like to wear at least something from all the great teams. And let’s face it, Sky are a major team.