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Browns' Losing Streak Takes Toll On Merchandise Sellers

The Cleveland Browns' losing streak isn't just taking a toll on fan morale. Businesses that sell team merchandise say they're also feeling the pain. 

Johnny Mirza, who manages Playball Sports and Fashion in Downtown Cleveland, and sells everything from replica jerseys to Browns-themed baby clothes, said sales of the team's merch are down about 15 percent compared to last season. But he's hopeful that'll change when the team starts winning...eventually. 

"Where are we going to go?" Mirza said. "It's just like your kids. Your kids keep making mistakes. You hope always for better." 

A few shops over at Champs Sports, Assistant Manager Kelly Golias said enthusiasm for Browns apparel has dipped this year. But recently, it has picked back up, possibly because they've discounted Browns merchandise 50 percent. 

"It does sell a lot better half off obviously."

And it's also gift giving season. So that doesn't hurt either. But whatever the reason, customers are showing love for the Browns.

"Then again," she added, "I did have somebody buy a jersey for a 'white elephant.'" 

If you aren't familiar with the term, a "white elephant" is what you call a gift that's also a burden. 

Note: Ideastream reached out to the Browns organization for official numbers on merchandise sales, but they declined to release them.  

Copyright 2021 90.3 WCPN ideastream. To see more, visit 90.3 WCPN ideastream.

Adrian Ma is a business reporter and recovering law clerk for ideastream in Cleveland. Since making the switch from law to journalism, he's reported on how New York's helicopter tour industry is driving residents nuts, why competition is heating up among Ohio realtors, and the controlled-chaos of economist speed-dating. Previously, he was a producer at WNYC News. His work has also aired on NPR's Planet Money, and Marketplace. In 2017, the Association of Independents in Radio designated him a New Voices Scholar, an award recognizing new talent in public media. Some years ago, he worked in a ramen shop.