There's a fascinating article in today's New York Times sports section about the inroads being
made by licensing in such sports as baseball and football.
For a mere $4,000, one can now choose to spend eternity in a casket emblazoned with his favorite team's logo. Logo-adorned urns, which would be my vessel of choice for traveling to the after world, cost a mere $799.
Talk about a bargain!
Licensing is a big business for sports leagues. (Note: in the interests of transparency, I should report that Peppercom is one of the few, if not only, PR firms with its own licensing division.) According to The Licensing Letter, Major League Baseball alone will rake in $2.75 billion in sales of licensed goods this year. That enough to fill an awful lot of cemeteries.
Of course, branded merchandise extends far beyond burial items, but why not go beyond just caskets and urns and create a fully-branded death and bereavement experience? I'd probably opt for a Jets afterlife experience (since they've killed my joy less often than the Mets have). So, I envision the following:
– Joe Namath jerseys for those kind enough to eulogize me
– Freeman McNeil sweat pants for mourners who will be spending the weekend at my wake and funeral. Why not provide some branded casual wear for their use during downtime?
– I'd like the funeral home to use green and white bunting instead of the usual funeral purple
– How about having the priest wearing throwback New York Titans vestments? Now, that would be cool.
– I'd like Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer to be available to comfort my immediate family.
– Fireman Ed would be on hand to lead one last cheer of “C-O-D-Y. Cody! Cody! Cody!”
– Last, but not least, I'd like my green and white urn to contain the signatures of every player from the Super Bowl-winning 1968-69 Jets, including Ridgefield Park's very own Hatch Rosedahl.
Licensing types need to think large. Besides paying taxes, death is the only thing we can count on. So, why limit the afterlife merchandise to caskets and urns? The sky's the limit. Actually, since we're talking about eternity, even the sky isn't the limit.
I'd be open to any and all licensing suggestions: how about a green-and-white hearse emblazoned with Joe Willie's “We'll win. I guarantee it” Super Bowl III boast. Or, maybe a reunion of the fabled Sack Exchange? They could tackle someone from my life who caused me grief (i.e. a particularly heinous client or former employer, etc.). How about a grave dug to resemble the exact proportions of the new Jets-Giants Meadowlands stadium? I don't know about you, but I'd want to be laid to rest right on 50-yard-line. No nose bleed seats for this cadaver.
Put me in charge of afterlife licensing for major league sports and I'll make that $2.75 billion figure seem like chump change.