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What's In Store 

Super Marketing Online

This is no doubt the golden age of sports merchandising; let's face it, when you can walk into a Charlotte store and find a variety of caps for the LA Lakers, a team that's 3,000 miles away, something's going on. Pro football teams are no exception. Both the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots have virtual stores set up on their websites, with nearly all the items bearing a team logo. We took a look to compare the teams, and cities', tastes.

The Panthers' website has a cleaner look than the Patriots' but it's also a bit slower and, well, kind of dorky. But never let it be said that the Panthers don't have goods to sell to their fans. In the online store -- besides the usual jerseys, T-shirts, hats, shirts, jackets and sweatpants -- they also offer future prized possessions such as Chris Weinke bobblehead dolls; pillows, blankets and comforters; bronze panther statues; backpacks; CD cases; golf balls; Christmas ornaments; bean bag chairs; shower curtains; day planners; three-ring binders; jewelry; women's purses (listed under "Men's Accessories"); sunglasses; watches; helmet-topped grills and food baskets shaped like a Panther helmet.

What we found missing but were hoping to see were: Panther helmet salt and pepper shakers; Panther logo spoon rests; Panther toilet paper holders where the paper comes out from between the cat's teeth; Panther teeth corn on the cob holders; a full Panther lingerie line; Panther money clips; Panther grass seed; and Panther logos for garbage rollout containers.

The Patriots' online store was skimpier overall, but still had a full selection of clothing and hats, and an understandably larger collection of cold-weather gear. In addition, they did have some items missing from the Panthers' goodie box, namely leather jackets; auto license plates; jewelry boxes; Patriots pajamas; women's boxer shorts; gift bags; mini-footballs; infant and toddler hooded coveralls; Christmas stockings; and cheerleader swimsuit calendars and DVDs.

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