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Pan Am Games' Pachi mascot dominates merchandise sales

07/01/2015 05:00 EDT | Updated 06/30/2016 05:59 EDT
He's always smiling, wears a yellow hat and has 41 multi-coloured quills. And Pachi, TO2015's mascot, is also the top seller when it comes to Pan Am/Parapan Games merchandise.  

Pachi-related products, from plush dolls to t-shirts, account for about 30 per cent of all Games merchandise sales so far, organizers say.

"Our superstar product is definitely Pachi," Rick Ramsbottom, TO2015's vice president in charge of products and sponsorships, told CBC News.

​Ramsbottom says about 90 per cent of all sales will take place during the Games, as fans and athletes shop for souvenirs. Along with Pachi, there will be plenty of Games-time releases, including commemorative pins ("we're having a hard time keeping pins in stock, Ramsbottom said), shirts and even special leather medal pouches made by Roots.

Still, at the Games stores — there's already one in the Eaton Centre and a 10,000-square foot megastore in Nathan Phillips Square officially launches on Canada Day — Pachi is king.

The brightly-coloured porcupine has "put a friendliness on the Games … people have fallen in love with Pachi," Ramsbottom said, noting he's coveted by everyone from children to elite athletes.

Ramsbottom, who also worked on the Vancouver Olympics, said mascots seem to be more popular at multi-sport events than they are in the professional sports world. For example, Commonwealth Games organizers in Glasgow, Scotland sold more than 50,000 stuffed versions of its mascot, Clyde the thistle.

Pachi, who like Clyde was conceived by a group of schoolchildren then given a polished backstory, appears well on the way to selling in similar numbers.

The 8 1/2-inch sitting Pachi dolls have already sold out once, forcing organizers to scramble to get more.

"We have gone through ebbs and flows from a supply standpoint," Ramsbottom admits, adding stores are currently well stocked.

That said, "if you really want to make sure you get Pachi, get him early," he said.

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