New Era prepared with merch for each playoff scenario

Super Bowl Champion Buffalo Bills?

Mike Baggerman
December 30, 2019 - 3:00 am
Official Bills Playoff Hat at New Era Cap store on Delaware Avenue. December 16, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Official Bills Playoff Hat at New Era Cap store on Delaware Avenue. December 16, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Now that the regular season is over in the NFL, postseason-fever has reached its high point in Buffalo.

Shortly after the team clinched its second postseason berth in three years, dozens of fans lined up outside of New Era Cap headquarters on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo to buy a team hat with a playoff patch on it.

New Era Cap's Director of Football, Ryan DiNunzio, said that their company prepared for all the scenarios and variables that come with the postseason because merchandise needs to be sold immediately after a team advances. He said it's tougher to prepare for the football side of things because of the one-game playoff compared to a sport like baseball or basketball, where a playoff series lasts multiple games.

"We turn things very quickly," he said. "We'll have a small run ready for those teams that make it to the next round and get ready to go through that. But it really gets ramped up, usually on midnight after the wins, that product is up and running. For some teams, you only have a week to capitalize because they could get bounced out the next week."

Fortunately for the cap industry, they don't have to make as much product compared to years ago. Several years ago, merchandise took longer to produce and there was more in stock.

"There was a mass amount of overages in product that would get sent off to third-world countries or shipped around," he said. "That has slightly changed. Because the run is so much smaller, we're able to recycle that product and turn it into other caps in future collections and lines."

It usually takes about eight months to recycle the fabric.

While the postseason starts this week, it's not the hardest part of the job. Projections on who would make the playoffs was far tougher to determine than who advances further into the playoffs.

"Starting at week 8 we begin to get communications through the NFL on all the possible playoff scenarios," DiNunzio said. "The report we get is similar to what media get later in the year that is simplified and broken down. We begin planning for roughly 32 different playoff scenarios. By week ten we start to narrow it down."

Ever since the Bills made it into the postseason, it's changed the atmosphere for the better at the company's headquarters, since most employees are from the region.

"Any time they're doing well it just really livens up the atmosphere when you come here on a Monday morning," he said.

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