Since the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl 57, fans of the team have been deluged with offers for all types of commemorative championship gear including T-shirts, jerseys, hoodies, hats, coffee mugs – and toys?
Yes, Fisher-Price’s Little People Collector Line has a Super Bowl LVII Champions set ($30), with four miniature figurines representing Super Bowl and regular season MVP QB Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, defensive tackle Chris Jones and a Chiefs super fan.
The set is available to order through Feb. 21; go to the Mattel Creations website (orders are expected to ship on or before Aug. 31).
Fisher-Price isn’t the only toy maker immortalizing Mahomes & Co. On NFLShop.com, Funko has a limited edition set of 12-inch tall figures of Mahomes, Kelce, Jones and center Creed Humphrey ($199.99, only 2,023 sets made). It also has a 4.5-inch Mahomes Pop! Trading Card figure ($25) and a 5-inch Funko Gold Mahomes premium vinyl figure ($12).
Are toys of Super Bowl champs the Kansas City Chiefs for kids or adults?
Probably teens and big kids (adults). A growing ‘kidult’ market including collectibles, action figures, LEGO building sets, plush toys and sports trading cards now accounts for about 27% of the $29 billion toy market, according to research firm The NPD Group.
Toys targeting adults aren’t new, as ‘there was always a robust business for adult collectors of dolls, action figures, plush, and die-cast vehicles,’ James Zahn, editor-in-chief of toy industry news site The Toy Book, told USA TODAY.
Back in the mid-1990s, Hasbro’s relaunch of its Kenner Star Wars Power of the Force line of action figures ‘really lit the match for what became the first big kidult generation,’ Zahn said. ‘It opened the door for a lot of companies to start catering to adult collectors while maintaining a focus on their core business: toys for kids.’
As interest and sales continue to grow, sports licensing for limited edition toys tied to specific events such as the Super Bowl, ‘could prove to be an intriguing new revenue stream for the toy industry should the offerings catch on,’ Zahn writes on The Toy Book site.
Mattel began taking pre-orders Jan. 31 for the Super Bowl champions set, letting fans of the Chiefs or the Philadelphia Eagles get their dibs on the toys. Those who ordered an Eagles set had their orders refunded.
So we can expect more toys targeting adults?
That’s likely as interest has surged since the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘People who were never home with kids saw the value and benefits of play,’ said Adrienne Appell, executive vice president at The Toy Association.
With board games, building sets and puzzles, ‘they could teach their kids how it was an escapism. It was something that helped with mental health and stress,’ she said.
That timing tracks with Mattel’s building out of its popular Little People toy line. It released its first Little People Collector figurines of pop culture and sports icons in 2019 including The Beatles, Kiss and WWE.
The product line “was born from the idea that toys we love as children, when combined with things we have grown to love as adults, can make every adult smile and bring a little bit of joy,’ Chuck Scothon, senior vice president at Mattel told USA TODAY.
Since then, there’s been Fisher-Price Little People Collector sets starring the cast of TV shows ‘Seinfeld,’ ‘The Golden Girls,’ ‘The Office’ and ‘Ted Lasso,’ as well as icons such as The Rolling Stones, Run DMC, Elvis and RuPaul.
This year, Mattel plans to release more than 50 new products. ‘The world of Little People Collector spans TV, movies, music, and sports and is growing faster than ever since its launch four years ago,’ Scothon said.
Also targeting kidults: the Funko Gold premium collectibles line, launched in 2021, with figurines of musicians such as Elvis Presley (sold out) and H.E.R., as well as athletes LeBron James and Walter Payton. And its New Pop! figures include Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic; on the way: two different Pop! figures of Dolly Parton and a five-piece set of rock band The Cure.
‘When it comes to adult collecting, a lot of the time, it’s not about the actual stuff – it’s the thrill of the hunt. It’s the same feeling you had when you were a kid, when you heard the ice cream truck coming down the street. It’s like the prize in the cereal box,’ Funko founder Mike Becker told USA TODAY.
‘So when I created Funko, my goal was to capture that ‘feeling’ and I knew if I did that – all the rest would take care of itself,’ Becker said. ‘Twenty-five years later, Funko is bigger than ever, and our growth can be attributed to our community and fans, most of whom are adult collectors.’
But toys such as figurines don’t actually move or do anything.
They don’t have to, Appell said. She ordered the Chiefs Little People set for her son. ‘He’s not going to play with them, but I think they’re adorable.’
She imagines people populating their shelves and desks with Little People figures from ‘The Office’ and ‘Ted Lasso.’
‘It’s decorating your home office,’ Appell said. ‘It’s a form of collecting but it’s also a form of playfulness because and you look over (at them) and it puts a smile on your face.’
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.