Sports teams often are tasked with increasing enthusiasm within their fan base, which often leads them to consider alternative methods of brand marketing. One of the most effective ways of exciting fans is to provide them with branded merchandise. The Sports Techie community blog is curated by me. I used to sell apparel and merchandiser to the old Seattle SuperSonics Team Store while working in the ASI industry for ALS Sportswear as the Director of Sales. Not only does merchandise featuring the team logo reignite the passion that sports enthusiasts hold for the team, it also employs the team’s most loyal fans to spread the word and become mobile advertisers for the team, case in point, fellow Sonics fans and their iconic logo. The NBA is now selling logo space on team jerseys for the first time in league history. This passive form of sportsmanship is vital to the popularity of the sports team, which is why many teams create t-shirts with their logos and give them away, in hopes that their fans will wear the t-shirts proudly.
High, Low and No Tech Promotions
The problem with t-shirts is that they do not serve a necessary purpose for your fans. They may wear the T-shirt once or twice – maybe even a third time – but after that, the shirt ends up at the bottom of the closet or a dresser drawer. And in most cases, without a specific reason to search for the shirt, it will be forgotten until months, perhaps years later.
That is why it is important for teams to merchandise their logo in different ways. More importantly, the goal is to provide your fans with something of value and resonance. When fans are given merchandise that they want, need or often use, it is on display for the general public. To the inquiring minds of the world that enjoy being inquisitive in the grocery store line or while on their lunch break at work, the logo merchandise then serves as a centerpiece for conversation. In turn, your loyal and true fans gain yet another opportunity to boast proudly about your team and influence others to become aware of your accomplishments.
The occurrence of these conversations, performing as direct marketing at its finest, is exactly what sports teams need and want their logo merchandise to accomplish. That is all the more the reason why these logo merchandise ideas are more much effective than T-shirts at creating excitement, increasing fan loyalty and marketing your team so that your fan base expands and the team becomes more well-known. As long as you keep in mind the personality of your fan base, the triggers that fuel their excitement, and what type of items would be most useful based on behavioral data about your particular fan, these merchandise ideas will empower your fans as brand ambassadors.
Aside from t-shirts, apparel can be a great way to give your fans something that they can wear proudly while displaying your team’s logo. Items like sweaters, jackets, custom logo socks as the winter sport months approach and even shorts for those heading to or in the sun can feature the logo while still providing something that will be cherished for years to come rather than easily forgotten. The trick is to incorporate your logo in a slightly inconspicuous place. You do not want the logo to be so dominant that it makes it only wearable during special events. Instead, make the logo noticeable enough that it can be seen, but placed so that the piece of clothing can be worn every day without appearing uncoordinated.
There are all sorts of fidgets available that not only appeal to children and teens, but adults use as stress relievers as well. That means that all ages of your fans can enjoy these toy-like novelties. The trick is to carefully select the item based on current trends and society. For instance, fidget spinners were enormously popular a short time ago, and the appeal towards mindless activity was infectious for children, teens and adults alike. While the sensationalism may have died down some, the addictiveness of the spinners still maintain their hold on some people. That provides teams with an opportunity to either create a new stress reliever to introduce into the marketplace, or enhance one that already exists. In the meantime, while experimenting with those creative ideas, entertaining widgets, spinners, and stress balls can be employed as logo merchandise just as effectively.
Office and Home Supplies
Just about every company gives away pens with their logo on them. That is because everybody needs and uses pens. It would even be safe to argue that there are those who collect pens, specifically those with logos on them. And either case, pens are not the only home or office supplies that are useful to your fans. Notepads, key-chains, paper holders, calculators, and even calendars are useful to the majority of sports enthusiasts, whether it be for home or office use. Wine bottle openers, Pizza Cutters, and even pocket knives are also very useful and unique as logo merchandise as they might not be used frequently, but often enough that when used, they often invoke, change or dominate a conversation instantaneously.
Lifestyle And One-The-Go Items
When considering that some of your fans are obviously on-the-go type of people, logo merchandise that caters to their lifestyle will surely provide some use for your fans. Items like sunglasses, wallets, duffle bags, medicine holders, tote bags, umbrellas, mini wet wipe dispensers, playing cards, and hand-held fans are all excellent ideas for giveaways. Not only do they advertise your team, they also deliver value and quality to your fans. With global warming on the rise, team logoed items such as a bottle of sunscreen or a microfiber towels are appreciated on hot days.
Electronics can be pricey, so it wouldn’t be expected that you give away televisions, stereo systems, game systems, appliances or other expensive electronics. But there are inexpensive electronics that we all use in our everyday life, and that make great logo merchandise for teams. Items like USB hubs, power banks, personal fans, portable chargers, key-chain flashlights, mini speakers, and phone stands are all items that your fans will not only use, but carry with them just about everywhere they go. From their home to their car, and from their desk to their book bag or purse, your most loyal fans will almost constantly have your logo with them at all times. This allows them to practically display your team’s logo on merchandise to everyone in their social circle and every stranger they encounter.
A travel adapter with a team logo nicely attached is an extremely useful item at a good price point and could be used in some type of exotic destination promotion. First 5,000 fans get a custom travel adapter and are entered into a trip to the beach thanks to a new sponsor. Let me know who does this promo first.
LED anything is a sustainable gift.
Sports Techie, regardless of which merchandise you select to represent your teams’ logo, the objective remains unchanged: exciting fans and creating awareness for the team. These merchandise ideas will not only help you achieve your goals, but propel the reputation of the team far beyond where commercials or social media posts can reach. In the end, emotional ties are built between the team and their fans while they energetically cheer on the team on game day.
Be it with professional, collegiate or amateur sports teams, the association fans have with killer team swag is truly a one-of-a-kind fan experience.
Bring back the Sonics!
See ya later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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