Bulls Memorabilia Sales Skyrocketing Amid Last Dance's Popularity

Jesse Pantuosco
May 15, 2020 - 11:43 am

Business is booming in the world of Chicago Bulls memorabilia. Call it The Last Dance effect. Predictably, Bulls merchandise sales have skyrocketed since the ESPN doc’s debut last month. In keeping with the laws of supply and demand, the going rate for vintage Bulls gear has risen accordingly.

“A black pinstripe Jordan authentic was pretty readily available for $150 maybe a year ago and now those are back up to $300,” noted Casey Pit of Rare Vntg, a sports boutique based in Philadelphia. “A lot of the stuff has doubled in price.” Bulls and Raiders throwback apparel (rapper Eazy-E’s affinity for Raiders gear made the black and silver a staple of 90s clothing) have long been among the industry’s top sellers, but with The Last Dance fueling our collective nostalgia, the retro market is doing gangbusters.

Per Mike DeStefano of Complex, Ebay shoppers searched Michael Jordan’s name an incredible 821 times per minute when The Last Dance first aired on April 19th. The Last Dance’s instant success led to a 198-percent rise in sales while Bulls memorabilia experienced a staggering 5,156-percent spike on the popular auction website. These days, a Dennis Rodman Nike shirt will run you a steep $469 on Ebay with Bulls’ three-peat tees going for a cool 80 bucks.

With 90s Era Bulls worship now catching a second wind, retailers like Reebok have taken the opportunity to dust off old favorites like the United States’ iconic warmups from the 1992 Summer Olympics. As shown in the documentary, Jordan went out of his way to hide the Reebok logo on his jacket, draping himself with an American flag to obscure any evidence of Nike’s competitor during the Dream Team’s gold-medal ceremony in Barcelona.

Mitchell and Ness CEO Kevin Wulff shared that website traffic has shot up 102 percent on Sundays and Mondays (The Last Dance has been airing Sunday nights at 9 PM ET) since ESPN first released its wildly popular 10-part series. The renowned vintage outfitter has witnessed a similarly meteoric rise in revenue (283-percent increase) during that time. And it’s not just Jordan gear that’s selling. Wulff notes that shoppers have also shown a keen interest in many of the Bulls’ chiefs rivals including Penny Hardaway and Last Dance antagonist Isiah Thomas.

“It's kind of high tide, all boats rise,” Wulff commented. “Sales are indicative of a lot of these other teams and players that have been featured in The Last Dance.”

The vintage market observed a similar sales spike earlier this year with Kobe Bryant throwbacks flying off shelves following the Lakers star’s tragic death. With Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman merchandise in such high demand, store owner Vic Lloyd wishes he had been more vigilant about snagging Bulls gear during their 90s heyday. “Hindsight being 20/20, you wish you held on to some of that stuff, but we got so used to winning that it was like, ‘Oh man, I'm going to get another one next year,’” said Lloyd, lamenting the missed opportunity.

Bulls jerseys are all the rage right now but if you want to wear 23 on your back, be prepared to pay a little extra.

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