You ever see those street vendors outside of stadiums, maybe a few blocks away because of legal purposes, selling T-shirts that have bizarre graphics of your hometown team? Sometimes they'll have a random assortment of players in front of their grossly colored city. Others will try to spin nicknames of players in the hopes it will catch on, but usually something is spelled wrong, the consequence of the haste in which it was mass-produced.
These are cheap knock-offs, but the market for them may be shrinking even more soon. In a recent ESPN.com article, Darren Rovell writes that the NFL, at this year's annual owners meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., decided to extend its deal with e-commerce partner Fanatics to make the sure the league better cashes in on "Micro Moments."
What's a micro moment? How about your very own Kirk Cousins shouting out "You Like That!" after completing the biggest comeback in Redskins history. Instead of waiting for those street vendors to come up with their own cheaply designed versions of the expression, the league will now work on products in advance in the hopes of taking advantage of the small window of buzz.
Cousins was smart. He trademarked the phrase just a few days after it started going viral and quickly began selling thousands of personally made T-Shirts in order to raise money for the International Justice Mission. In other words, he capitalized on himself.
There are still other "You Like That" shirts out there -- see: Bryce Harper -- but they don't nearly have the same brand awareness, popularity or financial pull that Cousins' own merchandise had.
"The excitement in every record or amazing play is there, but the half-life of each moment is so short, you have to do what you can to capture it," said Chris Halpin, senior vice president of consumer products for the league.
The league and Fanatics plan to work closely on developing more products tied to big moments that happen in the NFL – either records being broken or farewell tours or random Kirk Cousins moments – so they can set up a quick approval of designs minutes after something occurs.
"We live in an on-demand world," said Fanatics CEO Doug Mack. "It's not good enough to get the scores in the morning paper and in the social media age we live in, fans want what they want now."
Fanatics may seek to trademark words or quotes, which could lead to some trickier issues if an athlete – cough Kirk Cousins cough – has personally said them.
Which is to say, Cousins has laid a helpful -- or potentially frustrating, depending on what side you stand -- blueprint for players and the league already.