Representing your team is a big deal. How are you supposed to rep your team without a jersey to show your team spirit? Many people make big mistakes when buying their first — or even every — jersey. These mistakes either cost them money, or they end up with a sub-par product. Don’t be that person; follow these tips to save money and get an awesome jersey.
Know When to Buy
To save the greatest amount on sports apparel, you have to know when to buy. Watch for deals during these four key times to maximize your savings:
After the season ends
You’ll see some great deals on jerseys after the season ends but before the hype for the new season begins. This strategy is not for impulse buyers (aka me), so if you’re the kind of person who sees something and immediately wants it, this may not be the best choice for you. Here are the best times to look for deals on jerseys for your favorite sports:
- Football: The best time to buy an NFL football jersey is late March, about halfway between the Super Bowl and the draft.
- Hockey: NHL jerseys are priced lower around the end of July and the beginning of August, about halfway between the draft and the start of the next season.
- Basketball: NBA jerseys are likely to be less expensive in August, about halfway between the draft and the start of the season.
- Baseball: For MLB jerseys, buy in February. It’s after the World Series but well before the draft, and everybody will be focused on the Super Bowl, so baseball jerseys will be priced lower.
- Soccer: For MLS jerseys, buy from January to February. This is about halfway between the end of one season and the beginning of the next, and, like with baseball, prices should once again be lowered because of football (not futbol) hype.
When a player is done
This one’s going to be a no-no for a lot of people, but if you don’t mind having the jersey of a player who’s not on the team anymore, you can get the jersey of a player who left the team, was critically injured (career-ending) or traded. Common sense would dictate that you don’t want to get the jerseys of players who have been disgraced (i.e. OJ Simpson or Aaron Hernandez), unless you’re into that kind of stuff. In that case, wear at your own risk.
When sponsors change
This is the absolute best time to buy any type of jersey or fan gear. Think of it as a league-wide fire sale. When sponsors change, it’s not just one player or team’s jerseys that’ll lower in price because all the players’ gear and the replica gear will be made and/or sponsored by a new company.
Protip: For the NHL, Adidas is taking over jersey manufacturing and sponsoring starting with the 2017-2018 season. This is great news for fans who don’t mind having a jersey with an outdated sponsor. After the 2016-2017 season, Reebok NHL jerseys will start lowering in cost, and you could save between 10% and 30%.
After a major loss
What a bittersweet way to land a great deal on fan gear. Nobody likes to lose, especially the big games, but jerseys and other gear for the losing team are likely to take a bit of a discount after a major loss. Your favorite team just lost the Super Bowl? You get to buy a discounted jersey. It’s not the best trade-off, but it’s something.
How to avoid counterfeit jerseys
Your buddy’s cousin’s nephew doesn’t have the “awesome” hook-up; he’s probably selling counterfeit jerseys. People get tricked into buying counterfeit jerseys all the time, and it’s usually accompanied with an oddly low price. While you’ll almost certainly save money with counterfeit jerseys, the quality will not be as high, and they are illegal! These tips will help you avoid being scammed:
Buy from legitimate, licensed retailers
There are many stores that are actually “licensed” to sell official sports jerseys. You don’t need to have a license to sell legitimate, licensed jerseys, but a store with a license pretty much guarantees you can buy from that company and expect it to not be counterfeit.
Do your research
If the store is not licensed, do some research on it, and be as thorough as possible. Look at other people’s reviews, and look at the pictures of the products. Many counterfeits will be lacking in the extra details (i.e. the stitching, alignment of numbers, font, etc.). A great resource for identifying a counterfeit jersey is an article over at Bacon Sports. The internet’s a wonderful place; use it to your advantage.
Now you’re ready to purchase your jersey. Make sure to get it from one of these stores so you can also get cash back!