Published on November 24, 2015 by Margie Terp  

Athletic apparel sales are determined by the purchasing habits of avid, passionate fans that wish to share their association with a specific team with the public. In today’s markets, it is difficult to compete for fan attention and is crucial to reach target audiences with new, fresh ideas. The millennial audience is particularly crucial for success. Teams wish to reach millennials to increase and strengthen attendance at games, but also support through social media, apparel sales and ticket sales.

Team Sports Marketing (Kirk Wakefield, @kirkwakefield) states “highly identified, passionate fans engage in consumption behaviors that reinforce their identity and passion with the team and players.” They will consume more media related to the team and buy more merchandise and services from the team.

The graphs below represent the number of sport specific fans, in 2014, which actually purchase team apparel. The NFL has the most success with the MLB, NBA and NHL following behind. However, the millennial reach in apparel purchasing differs. The NBA takes the lead with the NBA, NHL, MBA and NFL following respectively.

Apparel Buyers in 2014

Athletic apparel brands use statistics to determine the best way to further millennial reach in apparel sales. Millennials need creative, unique ideas to grab their attention. According to Adweek (Craig Atkinson, @AdWeek), one of the best ways to reach millennials is through celebrities: “A celebrity endorsement that can truly influence their brand perception often involves nontraditional tastemakers like Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert— These media figures stand out from simply ‘famous people’ primarily because of their everyman relatability.”

Percentage of Millennial Buyers in 2014

This year, G-III, a holding company for athletic brands, took Adweek’s advice and launched a new, clever athletic apparel line created by “The Tonight Show” host and comedian, Jimmy Fallon (@JimmyFallon).


G-III explained Fallon’s idea “…to take the logo that is usually placed on one’s chest or body, and place it on the underarm, where it’s not seen when the wearer’s hands are down.”

G-III is ecstatic to make Fallon’s dream a reality. They recognize the marketability of the product because of the solid idea, but also the person behind the brand.

“Nobody gets more eyeballs than Jimmy and social media will be off the charts. We’re psyched and it brings a lot of attention to our team license business,” said Morris Goldfarb, chairman and chief executive officer of G-III.

G-III and Fallon are taking the right steps to reach the target audience. According to Advantage Sales and Marketing, 46% of millennials shop for sporting goods at sporting good specific stores like Dick’s. Fallon’s Hands High apparel will be sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods, department stores, online and at stadiums.

Hands High will be marketed through “The Tonight Show” instead of Fallon’s personal brand. This marketing and branding choice will be highly successful due to the show’s reach of the target demographic as well as Fallon’s relatability. Last week, “The Tonight Show” averaged a 0.91 in the 18-49-age range making it continuously dominant in reaching the highly targeted millennial audience. The show continues to place number one in late night television rankings with around 3.372 million total viewers. Through “The Tonight Show,” Hands High will be an automatic marketing success.

SBRnet. “G-III Partners With Jimmy Fallon On Fan Apparel Collection.” Retrieved from

SBRnet. “Market Research: MLB.” Retrieved from:

SBRnet. “Market Research: NBA.” Retrieved from:

SBRnet. “Market Research: NFL.” Retrieved from:

SBRnet. “Market Research: NHL.” Retrieved from: “Late Night Ratings Kimmel Beats Colbert.” Retrieved from:

TVByTheNumbers. “Late Night Ratings.” Retrieved from:

Entrepreneur. “Jimmy Fallon debuts New ‘Super Fan’ Sportswear Line.” Retrieved from:

Women’s Wear Daily. “Jimmy Fallon G-III Collaboration Hangs High Sports Apparel.” Retrieved from: .

Advantage Sales and Marketing. “Millennial Shopping.” Retrieved from:

This blog was written by Samford University student Margie Terp.