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Deter Jeter's retirement spikes sales

Derek Jeter's No. 2 Yankees jersey is the best-selling baseball jersey of all time.

So say officials at Majestic Athletic, which has made official batting practice jerseys since 1982 and authentic jerseys for all teams beginning in 2005.

"Derek just resonates with all demographics, all across the country," Majestic president Jim Pisani said. "He's really the only jersey that you consistently see at opposing ballparks, which is why he has been at the top for the last decade."

Pisani said Jeter's sales record is not only due to him playing 20 seasons with the Yankees and winning, but also due to the way commerce changed during his tenure. After Jeter came into the league, sporting goods stores expanded, as did the quality of the offerings. Perhaps the biggest factor: the rise and growth of the Internet, just as the Yankees won four out of five World Series titles from 1996 to 2000.

Pisani said Majestic has made nearly 100 graphics to go on Jeter products this year, part of what has made Jeter the most merchandised athlete in a single year in sports history. More than 25 licensees have made Jeter gear with his specially made "Final Season" logo. New Era, which makes the league's official caps, has produced more than 200 Jeter products.

"As soon as he announced this was going to be his final season, we could see the market was hungry for it," New Era president Pete Augustine said. "We've never seen this much interest from a player perspective, and I'm not sure we ever will."

Thanks in part to Jeter, an astounding 23 percent of New Era's MLB business has been Yankees-related this season.

Fanatics, the world's largest online retailer of licensed sports merchandise, says sales of Jeter merchandise on its website this season are up 1,000 percent over last year. Jeter gear has been purchased by fans in all 50 states and more than 30 countries this season. Despite the bitter rivalry, company spokesman Meier Raivich said Boston was the sixth-most popular city Fanatics sent Jeter merchandise to this year.

MLB.com spokesman Matt Gould said Jeter is the most popular player, in terms of sales, in a retirement year, besting teammate Mariano Rivera, who retired last year. Nike not only made the popular Jeter "Hat Tip" tribute ad, but has been selling so many T-shirts with the phrase "RE2PECT" on it -- it's the second best-selling Jeter item on MLB.com -- that the company decided to file for the trademark in July.

Jeter's final curtain call this season has also led to a huge boost in sales inside Yankee Stadium. Eric Gelfand, a spokesman for Legends, the hospitality company partly owned by the Yankees which runs concessions inside the stadium, said sales of Jeter items were up 690 percent this season versus last. Why is that important? Because all MLB teams equally split merchandise royalties, with the exception of what is sold inside stadiums and official team stores.

Then there are tickets.

While it's unknown how much the Yankees made by running their own secondary ticket business with Ticketmaster after dumping StubHub as a partner in 2013, they've certainly sold more overall tickets because of Jeter. The Yankees have sold 124,000 tickets (conservatively worth $6.5 million) more this season than last year -- and that's to watch a team that could have its worst finish since 1992.