Business

NFL apparel makers plan far ahead for sports trends

Michelle Downey tried on team caps at the New England Patriots Pro Shop in Foxborough earlier this month.
Michelle Downey tried on team caps at the New England Patriots Pro Shop in Foxborough earlier this month.Photos by Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

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The hot new line of New England Patriots apparel for the 2014 season is on the runway at NFL headquarters in New York right now, under review by league officials before making its way onto racks at the team pro shop and into the wardrobes of football fans.

That’s right — the hot new line for the 2014 season.

With sports enthusiasts spending $12 billion each year to wear their team pride on their sleeves (and on their hats, jackets, and pants), the imperative to satisfy their tastes demands a level of research and planning once confined to the fashion industry.

The sports apparel industry has become exponentially more strategic and sophisticated,” said Marty Brochstein, a spokesman for the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association.

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