Being an Electric Football enthusiast, the contents of the envelope caught my attention. In fact, it stopped me in my tracks. While unfolding the large full-color flier I found inside, my brain spun like a vintage hand-pull Las Vegas slot machine trying to process exactly what I was seeing.
It took a second — and it took my breath away. Huge photos showed off an officially NFL-licensed Philadelphia Eagles Build For Fun Wooden Stadium. The makers were Hawthorne Village, who specialize in upscale collector’s items like train sets and Christmas villages. The stadium looked incredible, at least the finished product did. It was a FULL stadium with three tiers of grandstands, there were lights, concession stands, painted NFL players…it was totally amazing.
But of course the finished product wasn’t available in one swoop. You had to buy the Stadium Starter Set first for $199.95, and it came with perhaps 1/10 of the pieces needed to complete the stadium. Then every other month Hawthorne Village would deliver an additional Play Piece kit for $59.95.
I quickly figured that to get the stadium configured like the photos – including lights and a scoreboard — would take a couple of years and probably $1000. That was way too much money, no matter how cool it looked. This was really supposed to be for kids?
The deadline for reserving my Starter Set was July 25, 2008, but I never returned the form. I was fascinated enough to keep all the paperwork, coming across it every so often while going through my files. I’d always wondered how I got on the mailing list because I never received any type of commuincation from Hawthorne Village ever again. And of course I always wondered about what I missed by not sending back my Reservation Form.
In checking with Google and eBay recently, its seems the answer is nothing. It would appear that Hawthorne Village received such an underwhelming response to the mailers that they decided not to make the sets. Which brings us to the question of how did Hawthorne Village tell NFL Properties that one of their highly ambitious projects for 2008 was not going into production? How did Hawthorne Village misjudge the marketplace so badly?
Like a lot “lost” toy items from the past, the Hawthorne Wooden Stadium was likely a case of bad timing. There were a lot of not-so positive things going on in the financial world in 2008. The economy was full of, to be kind, “uncertainty.” It wasn’t the optimal time to introduce a super luxury item like a kids’ triple-decked wooden NFL stadium — that cost $1000.
We’d love to know if anyone else receive this mailer. And if you sent in the reservation form, please let us know what happened. Do any of the Starter Sets actually exist?
Anyway you look at it, these stadiums are still an awe-inspiring item — even if the field only has yard lines every ten yards. If this concept could have somehow merged with Electric Football…all we can do is wonder.