As you walked into the Atlanta Falcons Training Camp this summer you couldn’t help but walk past the famous RISE UP sign, stop and take a picture with it and then turn to head on to the field.
But before you got around the corner good you standing in front of the extremely large Atlanta Falcons Gear tent. And the Falcons fan inside you made you step right in.
We spoke to Nisha Schmitt, the Manager of Retail for the Atlanta Falcons, about this year’s hottest selling items at Training Camp. Some of them might surprise you, but most of them will not.
Nisha tells us that the number one selling item every single day was the white panel footballs (pictured below). Fans grab these up at $25 each to get autographs at the end of the practice.
Outside of the obligatory footballs needed for the obligatory autograph seeking each day, the next biggest seller was a little surprising. I would have said hats, but the baseball hat variety. Or maybe t-shirts. But the second biggest seller was bucket hats (pictured below). Now, after thinking about it and rationalizing it, I understand this. It has been hot. It’s been insanely hot. And the sun has been relentless.
So purchasing a hat that is the closest thing to an umbrella for you head makes sense. It makes more sense than anything other type of head protection / team support for sale. Baseball hats leave the back of your neck exposed. And honestly, most attendees arrive at camp already wearing the aforementioned baseball cap.
Now back to the land of the predictable, when it comes to jerseys (pictured below), Julio Jones was the top seller. Just a few minutes on the hill, or the rope line, and after hearing the thousands of “JUULLLIIIOOO” calls and you could figure that one out.
Julio was followed closely by Devonta Freeman’s jersey (you can hear Devonta Tuesdays all season long on Dukes & Bell and 3:20 p.m.) and then Matt Ryan and Vic Beasley, Jr. There was also a run on Roddy White jerseys. A rack near the entrance to the tent held quite a bit of those number 84 jerseys at the beginning of camp and has slowly thinned out. Fans were still wanting the all-time receptions leader’s jersey.
Now when you come to Falcons Training Camp it’s not always about you. Maybe the kids are too young, had to stay at home or were in school. You can’t go home empty-handed. I know this. I have a 3-year-old son. And he’s a huge Falcons fan. So the toys are also a big hit.
The little stuffed Freddie Falcon and the smaller footballs (pictured below), perfect for little hands, are also big hits.
Some advice from a father that’s been out here at Training Camp every day it was open for three weeks though, don’t buy everything for your kids that first day. I made the mistake of taking home a Cleatus Robot in Falcons red and black, a new Falcons t-shirt and a little football all on the first day. Next year, plan to spread it out. Maybe once each week.
“Fans were also buying up the RISE UP lanyards,” says Nisha. Fans love to put their ticket stub, etc in them. Makes them easy to keep up with when going back and forth to your seat at The Dome.
And finally, another surprise top seller according to Nisha Schmitt. Nisha says, “The most popular of the hats this summer, outside of the bucket hats, were the Training Camp and On-Field visors.” These look great, but don’t really make a lot of sense for wearing at Training Camp where shade is at a premium. Most fans were buying these to wear the rest of the season and for tailgating.
The prices on the Falcons gear at Flowery Branch is not as insanely low as they are on the food, but they are not high either. You can get good deals on items that are brand new to the marketplace and you can be the first to have it. So stop by the Atlanta Falcons Gear tent next year when you are out here, grab some cool new items, some stuff for the kids or for Falcons fans that are friends and couldn’t make it out. Nisha Schmitt, Manager of Retail for the Atlanta Falcons, and her team do a great job for the fans each year at Camp.