If the Utah Jazz are bumped from the NBA playoffs by the Houston Rockets Friday, it will break the hearts of local fans - and Fanzz.
The Fanzz retail stores are owned by the Jazz and sell thousands of hats, T-shirts, jerseys and related items to basketball-crazed supporters each year.Sam Zizumbo, manager of the Fanzz in the ZCMI Center, said the store saw a 200 percent increase in sales during the last month of last year's playoffs, when the Jazz ousted the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Chicago Bulls in the championship series.
"It was big," Zizumbo said. "It's a big, big bonus if the Jazz do well, and our sales go up."
For 1998, Fanzz ordered more of some items that sold out during last year's long post-season. But those trinkets might collect dust on store shelves this time around.
"Most of our stores are seeing probably anywhere between a 10 to 25 percent increase in our monthly budget . . .," he said. "After the Jazz lost the first game (to Houston), there was a little bit of a drop-off. It picked up again when (the Jazz) won the second game. We have not done very well today (Thursday) compared to the day after they won.
"The people who have come in, their attitude has been kind of somber."
Dan Park, manager of Fan-A-Mania in Sandy, said that store did well during last year's Finals run, and business has been steady so far this playoff season.
"I think everybody's in shock right now with what's going on, but they're still 100 percent behind (the Jazz)," Park said.
He said Fan-A-Mania ordered extra Jazz merchandise at the beginning of the regular season, and it recently ordered a few extra hats to get ready for the playoffs.
While a championship would definitely boost sales, Park said, he is not worried about selling the store's Jazz merchandise.
"I think the fans, most of them here, are totally into the Jazz thing," he said.
Badger Screen Print is not banking on another Jazz trip to the finals, but co-owner John Badger said a Western Conference championship would mean a windfall for his company.
"The only time we will print (T-shirts) is if they win the conference championship, the same as last year," Badger said. "I've gone through this for years, wondering if they're going to win or not. . . . I'm still optimistic for it."
His company printed about 40,000 conference championship T-shirts last year, he said, and it could pump out 20,000 in one day if the need arises again.
"We're glad to have (the work) and hope they do it again this year," Badger said.
Zizumbo said the Fanzz store will have a good year even if the Jazz lose Friday.
"I was expecting them to go all the way. I thought they would at least get back to the Finals," Zizumbo said. "I'm hoping they can just get out of the first round at this point. I think that's pretty much what everyone is hoping for."
And if they don't?
"We'll just have a lot of extra Jazz stuff, but we'll probably end up selling it anyway, sooner or later," he said.