Due to technological advancements, the focus of the sports market has changed from ticket sales and concession stand money to massive advertisements and sports memorabilia sales that can be accessed almost anywhere. And this isn’t just about professional football. Even High School team merchandise can be seen for sale at local stores and online.
So where are people buying their favorite team logo merchandise, and how are companies making the most money? The easy answer is the internet. However, research shows that while the internet is one popular method and the type of access has changed, there are still many fans that purchase their favorite team’s logo apparel in department stores, sports stores, and at the stadium or arena. Businesses need to take a close look at the trends so that they can better market their team logo apparel, and fans need to take note so that they can predict where the sales and most selection might be hiding.
The facts don’t lie. According to the table derived from the “Baseball Sports Logo % of Buyers & Expenditures by Outlet Type”, there has been a 6.3% increase of the number of buyers who purchase baseball team logo apparel online from 2014 to 2015. In addition, smart phones have doubled in popularity from 2014 to 2015 as the purchase medium for online buying of the team apparel. However, fans purchased more apparel from sporting goods stores in 2015 than in 2014- about 3.1% more. Department stores stayed about the same, with only a 1% decrease. The biggest deficit is the stadium/arena venues that lost over 5% of buyers from 2014 to 2015.
A look at the College Basketball Sports Logo Apparel % table from SBRnet shows slightly different findings. The % of buyers who bought sports logo apparel at the basketball games has only decreased from 10.2% in 2014 to 9.6% in 2015. However, the online retailers experienced a drastic increase of buyers in 2015 by 7%; still 70% of online buyers used their computer or laptop for both 2014 and 2015. Smart phones as a medium barely saw any increase in popularity. The sporting goods store buyer percentage remained the same, while there was a nearly double increase in department store buyers.
Where does that leave us? It can be safe to assume that the variety and price of sports logo apparel will reflect the recent shift in buying mediums. Therefore, the best place for companies to extend their business, and the best place for buyers to buy, is probably online. While sporting goods stores are still a popular place to buy, it is likely that hard to find team logo apparel is not going to suddenly appear on sporting goods stores. More likely, smart phone apps will become an extremely popular way to quickly buy your favorite team’s hat with the push of a button.
The decrease in baseball apparel at the stadium is no surprise. With the ability to watch the games online, also comes the convenience of opening up another tab and purchasing desired apparel instantly. As more and more fans watch the games from afar, the in-stadium purchases will continue to decrease.
Although there is nothing more thrilling than watching your favorite team in person, buying that sought after t-shirt might be best accomplished online. Furthermore, businesses should pay attention to the increased popularity of online purchasing and focus on creating easy online access for future fan purchases. Hopefully, the ease of access will help to stabilize the sporting goods economy so that fans can show their pride for many years to come.
Written by Wen Li
General Editor: Macy Marin