Selling the Gear: A Look at Soccer Merchandising

On the move for the next couple of days, so here is our quick take on a recent article about the sale of soccer merchandise in the United States and around the world. OregonLive presents an interesting article on Adidas marketing efforts for the 2010 World Cup.  The article provides in depth analysis on the soccer apparel industry and efforts to sell sporting goods in the current market.

The article focuses on Adidas’ worldwide efforts to market its product and the importance of the World Cup in spreading brand awareness.  Sales for the sporting goods giant are down significantly, and World Cup 2006 provided a significant boost that Adidas hopes to equal or surpass. However, for MLS fans, there is this juicy quote:

“To build its U.S. soccer edge, Adidas paid a reported $150 million over 10 years to sponsor and outfit men’s Major League Soccer, which is expanding to 18 teams and drew 3.6 million spectators this year. Stu Crystal, MLS marketing vice president, said annual sales of league-licensed merchandise has grown more than 600 percent, to $300 million, since the Adidas partnership began in 2005. “Being connected to Major League Soccer gives Adidas exposure to millions of soccer fans and reinforces its position with the sport,” he said.”

While the Beckham effect is certainly an enormous contributing factor to the exponential growth referenced above, this is obviously a good sign for the league.  Selling merchandise can have a snowball effect, as brand awareness can ultimate increase sales.  The article provides some great data and we recommend the read.