If you are wondering why I keep writing about the Washington Mystics despite the fact that their championship was nearly a month ago, there are two reasons why. First, they won the WNBA Finals and it’s fun writing about a championship-winning team!
But second, the WNBA and professional women’s basketball is a year-round sport. Many of the Mystics’ players are abroad and we will update on how things are going periodically. We’ll continue to add more content about last season and what’s ahead for next year.
So with that in mind, here’s something that’s still quite sobering for Mystics fans. It’s really hard to find team merchandise on the shelves.
Lindsay Gibbs, the The Athletic’s Mystics reporter launched the “Power Plays” newsletter last month. It’s dedicated to the equality of women in sports. She is one of the most dedicated and best Mystics writers out there so I highly encourage you to subscribe to it.
On Monday, Gibbs wrote a post on this very topic. In her post, Gibbs went to eight different stores to look for any Mystics merchandise and found none. Furthermore, most of the stores never had Mystics merchandise at any time during the season. They ranged from Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lids, Champ’s, Walmart, Target and Nike. All of the named locations were in D.C. proper or were in suburbs less than 15 miles from the city like Wheaton, Md. or Arlington, Va.
Ultimately, the best place to buy Mystics gear at a retail location is at the Capital One Arena store in Chinatown. Gibbs also noted that online stores don’t provide a much better experience. Monumental Sports Network and The WNBA Store use the same inventory from Fanatics.com.
You can buy an Elena Delle Donne or Kristi Toliver jersey for $99.99 online through these stores. But you’ll need to pony up $139.99 for Emma Meesseman’s (or anyone else really).
That’s because some executive decided that it wasn’t worth mass producing a jersey of the one European superstar who does want to play stateside when she can. And I completely agree with Gibbs that a lack of merchandise creates barriers to entry for fans of women’s sports, including the Mystics.
I don’t think that type of thinking is accurate. The Las Vegas Aces were the most popular WNBA team in merchandise sales where four players ranked in the Top 10 for jersey sales. Part of the reason — and this is from observation from my trip to Las Vegas last summer for the NBA Summer League — was because their merchandise was available at many retail locations along the Las Vegas Strip, in particular the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino where they play.
Meanwhile, the Mystics were just fifth place overall in merchandise sales though Delle Donne had the best selling jersey. So there’s certainly a LOT of room for Washington to grow in this regard.
So how can we buy Mystics merchandise? You can always go to Fanatics.com and buy the merchandise they have available. But here are a couple more.
The first is buying online through BreakingT, an officially licensed apparel brand for the WNBPA (the WNBA players union) and the NBPA (the NBA players union). They have a great selection of T-shirts, ranging from the Mystics’ championship shirt, to EMM-V-P, the D.C. Guarantee and more. BreakingT is also based here in the D.C. area so that’s an additional plus.
Click on the link below to see the WNBPA’s entire collection.
As a note of disclosure, Vox Media, including Bullets Forever has an affiliate partnership with BreakingT. We may collect commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. However, they don’t influence editorial content.
And on the retail side, there is more hope for Mystics fans if you live in the Dulles Airport corridor. If you live in Loudoun County, Va. like I do, the Dick’s Sporting Goods at Dulles Town Center had plenty of Elena Delle Donne jerseys available as late as this past Monday. I’d imagine that they’re still there. And I can stop by there later this week for a picture if need be.
The Washington Mystics deserve our support year round. Fans shouldn’t have to struggle to find merchandise when they want it.