By Danielle Renda for PPAI
There’s one thing that’s never going out of style, and that’s the world of sports. Whether you’re a fan or player of baseball, football, basketball, soccer, hockey, tennis, golf or esports, the opportunity to cheer for and see your favorite teams play is always a treat. Promotional products can be used to perk up crowds even more, create a buzz before, during and long after the event finishes—and even offer a memento for those who eagerly wanted to attend, but were unable to fit the game into their schedules or budget.
According to the American Marketing Association, sales in the international sports market have continued to skyrocket year over year and were responsible for $90.9 billion in revenue in 2017. It’s a vast industry that’s characterized by revered players, high-energy events, avid supporters and dedicated tailgating. Promotional products, such as logoed apparel, hats and other accessories, can be used to bolster fan support and create word-of-mouth exposure, influencing other fans to purchase gear from their favorite teams.
This reach extends even further thanks to social media, with fans sharing photos or short videos of themselves enjoying the festivities—whether tailgating, sitting in stadium seats or watching the game from the comfort of their own living rooms—while wearing or using the branded merch. It’s a common sight to see fans sporting team jerseys on gameday, regardless of whether they’re attending a live event.
Statistically, fans aren’t shy about their spending when it comes to supporting their teams. CNBC reported that in 2017, consumers spent $56 billion to attend sporting events, with 34 percent of American adults spending, on average, $710 per person. An additional 12 percent of Americans spent an average of $273 on sports-themed video games ($8 billion in total sales), followed by eight percent who spent $254 on race entry fees ($4.8 billion in total sales) and four percent who spent $251 to partake in fantasy sports leagues ($2.3 billion in total). The sports industry reach even extends to gym membership purchases and marathon entries, according to CreditCards.com. A national survey of 1,003 American adults showed that 23 percent of sports-related consumer spending is put toward gym memberships, while eight percent is to partake in outdoor events, like a 5K run or obstacle course-style race.
This unisex Just Hoods Letterman Jacket can celebrate today’s teams with a vintage look. This 100 percent cotton face jacket includes a contrasting sleeve and pocket, along with a striped collar, cuffs and waistband, emphasizing an old-school feel. Press-stud closure buttons add to the classic look, while hidden earphone loops offer modern convenience. Available in S-3XL in 13 colors, shown here in burgundy/heather gray and oxford navy/heather gray.
For year-round wear, the 9617-PKF Men’s Full-Zip Jacket boasts a beautifully textured fleece, available in quarter-zip and full-zip selections. The 100 percent polyester jacket, which is cut and sewn in the USA, is so comfortable, yet sharp, that your clients will want to “sport” the garb—and your brand—wherever they go. Available in S-4XL in charcoal, burgundy and steel blue (shown).
It’s been a big year for sliders in retail, with everyone from Kate Bosworth to Gigi Hadid to Snoop Dogg sporting the trending look. Get in on the craze with the Hydro Sliders, which feature a large front strap to customize with a team’s logo. The sliders’ eco-friendly EVA sole offers a full toe lift and arch support, along with a recessed heel and non-slip bottom. Available in women’s S-M and men’s L-XL in gray, royal and black (shown). Kid’s S-L are available in black.
Write your message in the sand—literally—with these Sport Flip Flops. The bottom of the sole can be printed with a custom logo for an unusual, attention-grabbing touch. Feature your logo on the large, printable strap as well, which is available as a one-color standard imprint, a woven patch or embroidery work. The sandal is made with an 18-millimeter EVA sole for added comfort, with a recessed footbed and adjustable fabric strap. Available in women’s S-XL and men’s M-2XL in black.
Fans braving the summer heat to sit in the stadium chairs or stand in the bleachers deserve a token of appreciation—and what better way to do so than with the Cooling Towel? Keep clients cool while printing your brand’s message—including team pictures, schedules, multiple sponsor logos and QR codes—on the towels’ 34-by-12-inch imprint space. To activate the evaporative cooling process, simply wet the reusable towel.
Pump up fans by providing merch they can wave with every score. The Rally Towel offers full digital color printing for total exposure, with vibrant hues calling attention to your team’s photos, events, sponsors and QR codes. Offer an item that’ll encourage fans to stand up, cheer and get involved—and put it to use at home when the game ends.
For a look that’s fit for the game and the celebratory evening that follows any win, the 1361-WJK Men’s Waffle Jacquard Polo is a lightweight, comfortable and classy option. Made from 100 percent wicking polyester that is cut and sewn in the USA, this polo includes fashionable retail styling and a self-fabric collar. Available in S-4XL in burgundy, royal and charcoal (shown).
Gear up for gameday with the Retro V-Neck Baseball Jersey. Made from Dry-Excel™, 100 percent polyester wicking mesh, the fabric simultaneously absorbs moisture while wicking dampness out of its small openings, so it feels dry to the touch for an afternoon of tailgating. Details include a v-neck collar, raglan sleeves, a striped rib neck collar and cuffs, with a longer length. Available in unisex S-3XL and in youth sizes in 16 colors, shown in university blue/white.
Whether you’re a player or a fan, raglan-style tees add flair to any sporty style. The Augusta Baseball Jersey 2.0 is made from a soft blend of jersey/polyester, featuring a new slimmer fit and a wider neck. Crafted not to fade or shrink in the wash, this jersey is made to last well after the season ends. Available in unisex sizes S-4XL in 16 colors, shown in white/Kelly green.
Offer a timeless keepsake for fans and players to wear with confidence and pride. The Selco Geneve watch is a best-seller—and it’s no wonder. The customizable accessory is fit for everyday wear and can serve as a wearable trophy. Personalize with dial printing, engraving, packaging and jewel accent options—including names, dates and special achievements for a truly memorable gift.
The classic, striped scarf has been a long-running tradition at many colleges and universities. A thoughtful accessory that’ll see years and years of wear—it can serve as a memento for alumni after the college days end—the Sportsman Rugby Scarf (SP02) is made from 100 percent acrylic with a soft hand-feel, and measures 69-by-7.25 inches. Create a custom look using the school’s varsity colors or coat of arms, with 18 striped patterns to choose from.
Rep your team with a look that’s not only perfect for cheering on the sidelines—but ideal for getting in on the action afterwards. This WA938 Men’s Run Away Jacket is water-resistant and features a full zip with an elastic sleeve hem and a back vent with hook closure. For safety, the jacket includes a reflective zipper chest pocket and back reflective elements for visibility in low light. To accommodate runs—and the jam-out sessions that coincide—the top left shoulder has a headphone loophole. Available in S-3XL in emerald, black and red (shown).
A favorite choice for sports teams, college campuses and tailgating, the Trucker Snapback is a sleek and timeless selection, with a pre-curved, contrast-stitch visor for style, and an adjustable, plastic snapback to ensure a perfect fit. The cap features a 100 percent polyester mesh back, which is structured mid-profile and includes a six-paneled construction. And with more than 80 colors to choose from, wearers will fit right in with their team or school mascot.
When tailgating, your last concern should be stressing about keeping your brand-new jersey clean while grilling cheeseburgers. This Q-Tees Full-Length Apron with Pouch, which features an adjustable neck strap with buckle, waist-side ties and a three-section pouch pocket, will keep your attire pristine and keep your focus where it should be—on the cheeseburgers (and fun). Adorn the apron with a team logo to continue the cheer. Dimensions of the imprint area is 22-by-24 inches. Available in red, forest, royal, black, nature, white and navy (shown).
A school’s athletic booster club was seeking a fundraising item to sell to its students, fans and school supporters. The school selected the Full Color Unisex 18-inch Tube Promo Socksbecause of the unisex sizing, which includes a heel-less crew tube design. Printed in a fun, colorful design with the option to imprint different designs on each side at no additional cost, the school ordered extra socks to sell in the sporting event concession stands after the event culminated—and they sold out of every pair. For their next fundraiser, the school plans to offer the socks again, incorporating a student art contest for the selected design.
Keeping Up On Social
To keep updated with the latest news about their teams, fans devotedly follow their team’s social media pages, starting with the association or leagues their teams belong to. Twitter reports these numbers:
National Basketball Association: 27.6 million followers
National Football League: 24.3 million followers
Major League Baseball: 8.2 million followers
Major League Soccer: 3.2 million followers
Millions of Fans, But Where To Start?
When looking for the right promotional products for your next sports-related promotion, think about the almost infinite possibilities in these five categories:
1-Team merch, including jerseys, team tees and hats that fans wear to support their teams
2-Game gear, including comfortable stadium seating, umbrellas, blankets and other accessories for cozying up during a long cheering session
3-Winning fittings, like medals, acrylic awards and lanyards; typically used to commemorate smaller, more local sporting events
4-Support goodies, like drawstring bags, reusable water bottles, magnets and stress balls that fans can use long after the game
5-Flashy fan items, like apparel adorned with sequins, glitter or metallic ink and custom logos; these fans want their favorite teams—and the clothing they’re wearing in support of those teams—to be noticed
Source: The Gear Group
Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.