Pope Francis doll to hit shelves in July ahead of US visit

The Pope Francis Bleacher Creatures doll(Photo: Bleacher Creatures)

Pennsylvania toy company Bleacher Creatures is known for their sports and entertainment dolls, but have taken on the leader of the Catholic Church as their latest muse. 

The manufacturers have created a plush version of Pope Francis, ahead of his visit to the United States this fall. 

The 10-inch figurine features Francis in a white cassock and pelligrina, and a fringed, gold fascia. A silver pectoral cross suspended from a silver chain, a white zucchetto, and black shoes complete the outfit. 

The surprising addition to the Bleacher Creatures collection was actually a natural progression, according to CEO Matthew Hoffman. 

"Everyone agrees that [the Pope is] an inspirational figure who's tremendously popular around the world," Hoffman explained. "He fits in perfectly in our universe of true-to-life plush figures."

The company was founded in 2011 after Hoffman had difficulty finding MLB toys for his children at ballparks. He decided to create the dolls himself, and made $1 million in revenue in six months. 

Now, Bleacher Creatures has MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL dolls, and recently signed licensing deals with DC Comics and Warner Bros. Batman, Superman, and other comic book stars will get their own Bleacher Creatures soon. 

The Pope Francis doll is $19.99, and will be available for purchase in July. Hoffman doesn't forsee any backlash against the product. 

"We've done our due diligence and I don't think we're upsetting anyone," he said. "And yes, we have reached out to the Vatican and would love to officially partner with them."