Lil' Teammates Fill Toy Void for Young Sports Fans

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Lil' Teammates, the new collectible sports toy line from Party Animal Toys, has been a fast hit with kids ages 4 to 11, and more and more "big kids" are becoming fans as well.

In 2010, Lil' Teammates outsold initial forecasts by almost 40%.

In a short time, the Lil' Teammates toy line has become a winner with sports fans of all ages.

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Millions of sports fans across the country can’t wait for the day when they can share their enthusiasm with their young son or daughter. For many, Party Animal Toys has brought that day closer with their line of collectible sports toys. Lil’ Teammates are 3-inch vinyl figures available in various positions for the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and over 50 colleges. Their small size and slightly exaggerated features, which manage to come across as both tough and cute at the same time, help attract their target market, namely 4 to 11 year olds.

“We’ve been making licensed sports products for over 20 years,” says Jim Cantrall, president and owner of The Party Animal, Inc., “but one day I realized there just isn’t much out there for little kids, especially when it comes to sports fan toys or action figures.” That void led to the company’s creation of Lil’ Teammates, which debuted in February of 2010 to critical and commercial success.

“We ended up selling almost 40% over our initial sales forecast for last year,” says Cantrall. “That often left us scrambling to keep up with demand.” The company quickly found that it wasn’t only kids the Lil’ Teammates appealed to. “During the Christmas season we heard from a lot of moms who told us these made perfect stocking stuffers, and dads love their team authenticity and detail.” In a short time, the Lil' Teammates toy line has become a winner with sports fans of all ages. “The figures and concepts are right on,” says Tony Lott, a 51-year-old collector. “(Party Animal Toys) has hit on a quality figurine with great detail that most companies have failed. They’re the perfect size!”

Even though their appeal stretches beyond their target market, Lil’ Teammates stand alone as sports toys geared toward the kindergarten set. While there are a few examples of collectible sports figures, such as McFarlane’s Sports Picks, none attract the attention of younger children the way Lil’ Teammates do. “It’s great if some people just like collecting them,” says Cantrall. “But what makes these toys unique as sports collectibles is their playability. These are durable figures with moveable parts that are meant to be knocked around and played with. That’s what kids love about them. They don’t have to be just stuck on a shelf.”

Series 1 of the toy line, currently available nationwide in team shops, retail stores and online, is comprised of seven different figure molds, including a quarterback, baseball pitcher and hockey goalie. With all the different teams available, the series actually totals over 200 figures in all, but it doesn’t end there. Along with the recently-introduced Lil’ Teammates Throwbacks, and a limited edition figure called “The Ref,” the toy line will further expand this spring with the release of its second series.

Lil’ Teammates Series 2 will feature several new figures including a football lineman, baseball catcher, and basketball defender. Each figure will also feature more articulation to enhance their posing ability and playability. In conjunction with the toys, http://www.lilteammates.com was created as a place where kids and fans can go to register their figures, play games, win free prizes and learn more about their favorite teams. Visit that site for more information on Lil' Teammates.

ABOUT THE PARTY ANIMAL
The Party Animal,Inc., of Avon, OH, is a leading manufacturer of quality flags, banners, collectible toys and other fan product for the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and over 70 colleges and universities. Founded in 1989 by James Cantrall, The Party Animal has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a manufacturer of wedding and party signs. The company is now a licensing industry leader with over 1500 unique products that prides itself on having “the best customer service in the business.”

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Bryan Cantrall
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