Businesses cash in on Ravens' success

Nightmare Graphics' Josh Rufenacht pulls a shirt from a machine after it's been screen painted. In the background is Asfaw Mengstu.

As soon as the confetti dropped in New Orleans, Fred Fillah launched production of thousands of T-shirts adorned with a smiling Ray Lewis standing amid that confetti shower.

"We've been printing … all night," said Fillah, president of Fanatics Only LLC, a Maryland T-shirt company licensed by the NFL Players Association.


Businesses of all sizes are looking to cash in on the Ravens' success. For small-time online sellers and major international brands alike, the end of the Super Bowl means the beginning of promotional tie-ins, trying to profit from the good feelings that come along with a Super Bowl win.

Tide laundry detergent, for instance, was one of the brands that invoked the Ravens during its Super Bowl commercial. Baltimore's team and the San Francisco 49ers were mentioned in the ad to make it as "relevant" to the Super Bowl as possible, said Chris Lillich, a marketing executive for Procter & Gamble, which makes Tide.


Renowned jeweler Tiffany & Co., which made the Vince Lombardi Trophy awarded to the Super Bowl winner, is offering a crystal football-shaped paperweight decorated with a Ravens' logo for $120. On eBay, the online auction site, handmade Ravens-themed charm bracelets began to appear Monday, selling for roughly $20.

"People feel very passionately about the Ravens," said Alice Rhodes, of Timonium, who sells her jewelry online. "They've done really well."

Based on the number of points scored by the Ravens during the Super Bowl, the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court at the Inner Harbor is offering 34 percent off hotel room rates through the end of the month in what it calls the "Ravens Win, You Win" offer. The SpringHill Suites downtown is offering rooms for $52 per night throughout the month to acknowledge the retirement of Lewis, whose jersey number is 52.

Restaurants, too, are getting in on the action. At the Rockfish in Annapolis on Monday, Maryland-brewed beers were on special at the bar and appetizers were being discounted by 25 percent "in honor of the Ravens win," said Chad Wells, the executive chef.

At Smyth Jewelers in Timonium, "the phone has been ringing off the hook," said Rhoula Monios, the senior sales manager.

The company has been the official jeweler of the Ravens since 2005, she said, and sells items that include autographed footballs, official helmets and Ravens-themed cuff links and watches. The partnership highlights Smyth's dedication to the Baltimore region, she said.

It's a beneficial relationship, she said, because it draws a wide variety of customers — men and women — into Smyth stores, which have Ravens product displays throughout their showrooms. She thinks much of their Ravens-related sales are people buying collectibles for themselves, she said.

"We feel like we're Baltimore's jeweler and they're Baltimore's team," Monios said.


The Baltimore Sun also stands to make some money from the Ravens' win. The newspaper produced a book, available online early Monday, that chronicles the Ravens' 2012-2013 season. Plus the company is selling reprints of Monday's paper, shirts emblazoned with the front page and a limited-run championship poster.

"It's a good way to be able to promote our brand," said Tim Thomas, senior vice president of business development for Tribune Publishing Mid-Atlantic, part of The Sun's parent company.

The demand for Ravens-related products is high. Sporting goods stores throughout metro Baltimore opened just after the game as fans clamored for hats and shirts to wear Monday morning to show their purple pride.

"I've got to rock my Ravens gear every day this week," said Dominique Fowler, who was shopping at the Sports Authority on Baltimore National Pike in Catonsville shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday.

Larry Hall, the store's sales manager, said the decision to open Sunday night was made "as soon as we knew that they made it to the Super Bowl." The store stayed open until 12:45 a.m. Monday and reopened at 6 a.m. to continue sales.

It was important to have hats, the most popular item, on shelves as soon as the game ended, said Terry Kenkel, a representative from the retailer's corporate office in Denver who came to Baltimore to make sure the region's 11 Sports Authority stores were stocked and ready for the postgame rush.


"It's definitely a local economy boon," said Sol Schwartz, a manager and buyer at Holabird Sports in Middle River. "This is where everybody's discretionary funds end up."

People were waiting for Ravens Super Bowl apparel at the sporting goods store as it was being unloaded from trucks Monday morning, Schwartz said. He's telling customers to check back for new items later this week because it takes a few days for some collectibles to be manufactured and delivered.

"A lot of what we've done relies on what happened [after] the last Super Bowl," Schwartz said of the Ravens' championship in 2001. Buyers base orders on what was popular then, such as beer steins, he said.

Sales of Ravens products are likely to remain higher than normal throughout the offseason because of the Super Bowl win, Schwartz added.

Fillah, who has been in the T-shirt business since the mid-1960s, had a late shift of 25 people producing commemorative shirts to get them to stores for early sales.

He hopes to make about 10,000 shirts featuring Lewis and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, which will be sold for $20 each at local retailers, including grocery stores. With Lewis retiring and Flacco playing the part of the comeback kid, he said, there's a good chance sales will meet his expectations.


"I think the Flacco thing might be really big," Fillah said. "He's an elite and a story of redemption. … He's a likable guy. We have that going for us — and really terrific graphics."

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Julie Baughman contributed to this article.