The San Francisco Giants (and Brian Wilson's beard) stormed this year's World Series, much to the delight of local sports gear vendors. But what happened to all that unsold Texas Rangers gear?
Much of the Rangers clothing printed ahead of time for the World Series will go to kids in developing countries, thanks to the charity World Vision. The Christian nonprofit has been working with sports leagues for years to donate unused gear to needy rural communities.
"We started working with major sports teams in early nineties. During championship games, we would seize bootleggers' goods, process them, and ship them oversees into remote areas in order to make sure they wouldn't show up where they shouldn't," explains Jeff Fields, World Vision's senior director for corporate partnerships.
World Vision developed enough trust from that initiative to strike a deal with the National Football League to collect and donate postseason gear to countries like Zambia, Uganda, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. The charity has been working with Major League Baseball and retailers including Dick's Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, and Modell's for the past four years.
This year, World Vision collected approximately 5,000 Texas Rangers hats and shirts from MLB. World Vision would have collected more if the series lasted longer. "Retailers won't start to pre-buy a team's shirt until it gets to that magical third win [in a series]. Then they will go ahead and pre-buy shirts and hats so that as soon as a series is clinched they'll have them available," Fields explains. "I sit there and root for a long series."
World Vision only works with the NFL and MLB for now, but the charity hopes to start working with the NBA in the near future. "We're speaking with them," Fields says.