POSTED: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 1:00am
UPDATED: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 1:04am
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The Miami Heat's extraordinary winning streak is capturing the attention of basketball fans across the country, and the team's merchandise is flying off shelves.
Sales of Heat items are up 30 percent year-to-date compared to 2012, according to SportsOneSource, a research service that tracks sales of licensed sports merchandise. Sales of Heat items on the NBA's online store, which are not tracked by SportsOneSource, are up 40 percent since the start of the streak, according to league spokeswoman Amanda Thorn.
The Heat won its 24th straight game Wednesday, coming back from a 27-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers. If the team keeps winning through its April 9 game, it could break the league's record of 33 straight wins, which was set by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1971-72 season.
The Heat's sales spike has come even as overall sales of NBA merchandise have fallen by 25 percent to $675 million so far this year. The drop in league-wide sales is because of the "Linsanity" phenomenon during the year ago period. The sudden emergence of then New York Knicks player Jeremy Lin sparked a huge but short-lived spike in sales.
Thorn said that the surge in sales has moved Heat items into the No. 2 position at the league's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York, behind only the hometown Knicks.
However the Heat's growing sales mean relatively little to the team's own bottom line. Proceeds of all licensed NBA merchandise is split evenly among all 30 teams.