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The Mystics are winning on the court but lag behind in merchandise sales

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Elena Delle Donne’s jersey is the most popular seller in the WNBA. But the rest of the Washington Mystics aren’t getting much love.

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Dallas Wings v Washington Mystics
Emma Meesseman and Ariel Atkins are big-time players for the Washington Mystics. Unfortunately, they aren’t that popular with fans outside of the DMV and Ieper, Belgium.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Earlier this week, the WNBA announced that Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne had the most-sold jersey in the WNBA for the 2019 WNBA season. This makes sense. She is the presumptive WNBA MVP and one of the faces of the WNBA as a whole. This is also the third consecutive season where Delle Donne had the most sold jersey in the league.

Does this make the Mystics the team with the most merchandise sales? Nope. As a matter of fact, the Mystics were the fifth most popular team based on sold merchandise. They were behind the Las Vegas Aces, Minnesota Lynx, Seattle Storm and New York Liberty for sales in that order.

Here are my take-aways from the news:

  • The Mystics are still lagging to be a popular brand to the WNBA at large — The best regular season team should be among the top two or three teams in sold merchandise. Without Delle Donne, the Mystics would have been in the lower half of sales. In fact, they could have been among the least popular WNBA teams despite winning games.
  • Washington still lacks marketable names to general WNBA fans — Emma Meesseman, Kristi Toliver, Natasha Cloud, Ariel Atkins and Aerial Powers are all familiar names to our regular readers. But outside of D.C. and Ieper, Belgium, the Mystics’ core players are still not mainstream WNBA names. That said, Toliver will have more familiarity because she is one of the Wizards’ player development assistant coaches.
  • Winning will cure this over time — Don’t expect the Mystics to continue to lag in merchandise sales if they can win the WNBA championship this year. Championships will create a large segment of “bandwagon” fans who buy more merchandise and jerseys. After all, the Lynx were the second-most popular team in merchandise sales and were eliminated in the first round of the WNBA Playoffs. The reason why their sales are still high is partly due to their past success this decade when they won four WNBA titles.
  • Let’s buy more Mystics gear and demand more variety of jerseys! — The Mystics team store only offers Delle Donne and Toliver jerseys the few times I’ve checked. Perhaps Washington could add some more Meesseman and Cloud jerseys. Not everyone wants to take the time to go to Fanatics.com and buy a custom jersey. A lot of these jersey purchases can be quite compulsive.

Are you in the mood to buy Mystics gear? Go to Fanatics’ site here and get something, including a custom jersey. That last sentence isn’t a sponsored link by the way. It’s just a genuine and organic call-to-action. There is no reason why the Mystics aren’t winners with merchandise as well as on the court.