Score Big Savings as NBA Store Sets to Close

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As the clock runs down on Manhattan's NBA Store, the bargains are heating up. The tourist mecca, which closes on Feb. 13, offers ongoing deep discounts that you won't be able to get at the league's merchandising website (which has a clearance through Jan. 15).

In the store, T-shirts normally $20 now cost $10 and some are as low as $5. Team-logo sweartshirt hoodies and fleece jackets have dipped $65 to $40. NBA golf polos have plummeted from $65 to $32.50, and baggy shorts have fallen from $45 to $10. This WalletPopper bought an NBA rain poncho reduced to $2 from the original $14 price.But there was work to be done. I snooped around a bit more and according to store reps, prices on general NBA and store-specific items might drop further. Marketing mainstays, such as player jerseys, will stay an in-person NBA experience for its global fanbase.

Many visitors probably have never even attended an NBA game (no surprise, at an average ticket price of $49.47 last season). And unlike many New York City tourist attractions, the NBA Store doesn't cost anything to enter. The store has been at its Fifth Avenue site since 1998, which predates the Internet's retail supremacy, and it still attracts a healthy number of out-of-towners.

On the icy mid-January morning I visited, a group of international tourists followed their guide around the store as if they were viewing masterpieces at the Met. Kelly Vaughan of Wales rummaged through price-slashed T-shirts for her son and said she planned to return to the section after checking out the rest of the inventory, "especially since it's on sale," she said to WalletPop.

The NBA Store has said it will relocate, but no word on when and where. Sources said the league is searching the same midtown area for a new site. A temporary store also is a possibility.

The landlordreportedly was asking for more than $2,000 per square foot, and the NBA said no.

The league is in a tricky spot. It faces a potential play stoppage next season over labor issues, which could cut into its visibility. Does it really want to invest in a new merchandising headquarters while negotiating its future?

In the meantime, let us enjoy the bargains. NBA sweatpants discounted from $30 to $10?

Slam dunk, baby.
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