The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported some unusual news Thursday. For once Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the cause of slumping merchandise sales rather than gains. NASCAR's souvenir merchants are hoping sales of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s new No. 88 merchandise will help them recover from a disappointing 2007 selling season.
According to a Sporting News report in Ernie Saxton's Motorsports Sponsorship Marketing News, NASCAR'S top souvenir seller, Motorsports Authentics, is expected to report operating losses of $20 million to $25 million this year.
The main reasons cited for the loss are the drop in sales for items from Earnhardt, who announced in mid-season that he was leaving his No. 8 Budweiser-sponsored Chevrolet to drive for Hendrick Motorsports. If you attended a late-season race, you saw the reason for the losses. While the lines were still just as long at the No. 8 merchandise trailers, the price for your average t-shirt or hat ranged from $3-$8, rather than $15-$30.