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Sales blitz: If it’s Tebow, it sells

He might be the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, but Tim Tebow is having a major impact in Las Vegas, especially when it comes to sales at local sports merchandise and memorabilia stores.

The impact could be even greater if stores could keep his jersey in stock.

In fact, it has gotten so bad that in Las Vegas holiday shoppers looking for that last-minute Christmas gift for a Broncos fan may have to cross Tebow jerseys off their list.

There are, however, plenty of Knowshon Moreno and Von Miller jerseys available for the Broncos fan on your gift list. Even jerseys of former Broncos standouts Tom Jackson and John Elway are available.

“We had Tebow jersey’s and T-shirts but they’ve been sold out for a while,” said Bruce Mianecki, owner of Uniform Sports at Las Vegas Premium Outlets South. “We haven’t been able to order anymore. We have nothing left, expect in children sizes.”

On Thursday, the only Tebow jersey on sale was for $75 at Uniform Sports, where Mianecki had recently found three replica University of Florida Gators jerseys with his name and number 15 printed on them. He said Tebow jerseys had been priced between $85 and $115.

Even at the Reebok outlet store at the Las Vegas Premium Outlets South, Tebow jerseys were out of stock. At Pro Sports, the only Broncos jerseys for sale were for the Boise State Broncos appearance in Thursday’s MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.

Greg Haugen, director of purchasing for Paradise Golf and Sports, said “good luck” to anyone looking for a Tebow jersey. His store has been sold out since early November and has been unable to purchase any more from the manufacturer.

Besides Tebow’s No. 15 jersey being popular, there is another reason why they are so hard to find. Haugen points out that the jerseys are hard to come by because Reebok and the NFL are ending their contract after the 2011 season.

He said that gave Reebok less incentive to produce Tebow jerseys, even with the demand.

The NFL announced in October that beginning in April , Nike Inc. would supply all on-field uniforms for players, clothing for all NFL sideline personnel and fan gear. Haugen and Mianecki are both waiting until April when their orders are due to be delivered from Nike.

If you’re shopping online, Tebow jerseys are listed at $678.30 on Amazon.com and Buy.com.

Tebow has become one of the most popular players in the NFL, even though he started the season as the Broncos’ third-string quarterback. Even then , his jersey was a top 10 seller for Reebok.

Once Tebow was named the starter and began winning games, his jersey shot to No. 1 on the best sellers list, increasing demand even though there was little stock available.

Other popular players with hard-to- find jerseys in Las Vegas are Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Popular NFL teams for jersey sales in Las Vegas are the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers and Broncos.

At Lids Locker Room at Las Vegas Premium Outlets North, Tebow jerseys were gone days after they were in stock.

“It’s kind of hard not to be a fan,” said Rachel Miller, a sales associate with Lids Locker Room. “He’s fun to watch and he inspires everybody on the team. It’s hard not to like someone who can come back in the fourth quarter and win.”

As for increased sales of Denver Broncos merchandise overall, Miller said most fans just want Tebow-related merchandise and haven’t been buying Broncos hats or sweatshirts.

She expected the 12 Tebow time T-shirts, priced at $12.99, left to be sold out quickly.

At memorabilia stores in Las Vegas it’s the same problem, at least for buyers — if it’s Tebow, it sells.

Bill Watson, president of Memorabilia International Inc., said it only took a few hours, or days at the most, before he was out of Tebow autograph footballs, jerseys, and helmets.

“Since selling out all of our inventory last week, the wholesale prices have gone up as much as 300 percent,” said Watson, adding that the shift away from Elway merchandise to Tebow has been “pretty dramatic.”

On the retail side, at Field of Dreams at the Rio Hotel, an 8-by-10 inch framed autograph photo of Tebow as a Bronco holding his Heisman Trophy sells for $700.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csieroty@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893.

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