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Club merchandise (Oz experience)

(Picture) Clay figurines of several top NRL players on display

During my recent Down Under trip, I got an opportunity to see how thriving the industry of club merchandise is. 

"This is colourful!" I said to the store owner behind the counter, having been overwhelmed by the colours and designs of those clubs' jerseys, balls, etc. displayed inside this shop named "Fan Central - Football Jersey" specialized in such merchandise. 

"It's not too good or not too bad." said the boss who is from Sydney when asked how well is this industry doing at this moment.
(Picture) A family of St. George Illawarra Dragons supporters travelled to Gold Coast to catch their team in action against the local side Titans in an NRL clash.

He went on to reveal that it's the strong support towards their local sports teams that it's a common sight to see folks around Australia wearing the shirts, apparel of their local sports teams, particularly those of the AFL (Aussie Rules) and the NRL (Rugby League), the two more dominant footballing codes.

"But "soccer" is catching up with the ongoing success of the Socceroos." added this friendly big-sized proprietor.
The unforgettable and eye-catching colours of the jerseys, merchandise inside "Fan Central - Football Jersey"

Thanks to his permission, I snapped some pictures of the items he is selling at his shop ("Fan Central - Football Jersey" located in "Harbour Town" - Gold Coast), which is located inside the "Harbour Town" shopping complex in Gold Coast, Queensland. Actually, some of our clubs do have some merchandise on sale, in case some of you aren't aware, but the level of support is not as enthusiastic as compared to those Aussies'.
Some of the HUFC's merchandise on display on

I can't blame or chide those clubs for not doing much to generate awareness or making an effort to venture into it as at this instance, it is just not worth the effort and most important - the money.
Kellogg's "NUTRI GRAIN" had its name imprinted on the official NRL ball was a success during their sponsorship stint of this premier sporting event in Australia

So let's tweak a bit of our approach. No point in asking the clubs to mass-produce these replica jerseys, T-shirts, caps, and so on, then push them to the masses to collect dust because who is going to buy it?
(Picture) Part of the official AFL and NRL merchandise - Mugs and Water bottles

So what I would like to suggest is the idea of forming of strategic partnership (I stressed it's not sponsorship) between the clubs, the league authority and various goods manufacturers which I defined as sport apparel providers, lifestyle clothing firms and other items which daily consumers like you and I need to use every day.
(Picture) This boy wore the "Dragons" cap out of necessity, definitely right?

In short, the idea goes like this: all we need to do is to "paste" the emblem/logo of the clubs, league authority (S.League) on whatever branded daily necessities we can think of (i.e.: food, bags, electronic gadgets, etc.) and through the established sale network and sell to the masses. Picture these scenarios in your mind:
  • You need a brand new iPhone, but you are being given two choices - a default design and another a flashier design based on the emblem or mascot of any of the S.League or any of the clubs.
  • Through the establishment of such partnership, these emblems or mascots of the clubs are being featured prominently display on the package of something like Lay's or Doritos Potatoes chips.

  • You need to buy an umbrella urgently because of a last-minute heavy downpour that left you stranded and saw a range of umbrellas on sale that bear the design of S.League clubs, so you grab it without a single thought.
As we concluded from the above-mentioned scenarios, it is all about how to blend those daily necessities in to form of club merchandise to generate a source of revenue for the club.
I wouldn't mind buying one of these AFL-theme teddies as a gift.

Badges like these aren't ready for this "tie-up" as they aren't deemed a necessity

Perhaps, at this stage, it is not likely for the clubs to take the larger pie of the income from the sale as they are "merely conveniently" pasting their logo on any existing products and "tag-along". However, if we look at it from another angle this should be a way to break into this untapped market.
Some idea here - a calendar using models for each month?

Saw the replica of this ball at Mustafa, wonder if the FAS and the league itself gain anything financially when someone buys this Mikasa ball that bears the logos of these two?

Exclusively for the national team's players, but isn't a water bottle a necessity to all as well?

So don't feel weird one day you see people sipping a Woodlands-theme coffee out of a cup with a Rhino (symbolized SAFFC) motif and have a garlic toast from a package that bearing an Eagle (Geylang United's mascot).


  1. i realli hope our clubs will come out wit more merchandise range. or mayb make it a point to sell it every match dae.
    The sleague merchandise site got the same thg on sale for two years??. haizz.

  2. Hi Taufiq,

    When the league first started in 1996, there used to be a truck by "Playline" - the then official merchandiser, selling those stuff during match days.

    However, as the interest waned.. those merchandise ended up in those "cham barang" shop selling at a lower-than-market rate (how sad..).

    Like I mentioned, no point mass produce those stuff as there's no market demand for them.

    So the whole idea is to "tumpang" on those existing items by mere "making use" (as mentioned in the entry)of the established sales network as sell those stuff and create awareness for the league and clubs.

  3. Faris (via 16 August 2009 at 12:39:00 GMT+8

    when the sleague started in 1996,

    there was shit loads of merchandise. for a 7 year old that time, i remembered stuff ranging from bookmarks, mugs, erasers and badges. i even remembered alot of people wearing the 1996 winning geylang jersey with the V design on the chest, and the sponsor HITACHI emblazoned across.

    i went to mustafa centre a few months ago... and i saw them selling a few sleague caps. but i can tell all of it was from damn long ago... cause tampines rovers' caps was under the brand of uhlsports...

    tsk.. nowadays..

  4. S.league need a serious rebranding and marketing. Probably they can start planing one at their 15 anniversary of the league next year.

    ya i remember that when i'm was still in sec 2 or 3.

    The current Thai league way of marketing was the same as our s.league have done when it 1st started off. But unfortunately years after years have passed, fans interest in the games was no longer there.

    Thai league have just begin to fly off although they really impress me at the moment, but the big question come, "Will they be able to last that 10 or 15 years down the road?" "Will the fans feel bored abt it after sometimes."

    Dun forget of the European football....

  5. addymuliady (via 16 August 2009 at 22:06:00 GMT+8

    Local marketing seems to be a bit lack in the creative and viral department ... Rednano and InSing are just some of the recent examples ... Oh and click, click ... Mocca ... Even Tiger Beer is pale in comparison to Heineken or Carlsberg ... I find beer commercials very creative ...

  6. mnzxc123 (via 16 August 2009 at 22:06:00 GMT+8

    Something needs to be done. But not surprising that the merchandise isint selling.

    Who would buy a jersey for about 50 bucks when ppl complain bout 5 dollars / 10 dollars for a ticket?

  7. DudeCCK (via 17 August 2009 at 07:07:00 GMT+8

    Increasing functionability of the merchandise will not increase sell of merchandise...

    It's about association after all... Truth is... Who wanna be associated with an Sleague club? See my point here?

  8. what "DudeCCK" mentioned is an issue we need to tackle as he pointed out "Who wanna be associated with an Sleague club?".

    Perhaps that's one of the root problems the league authority need to look into, how to convince those corporate suppliers there's viability to work with them.

    But again as I mentioned, it's about tweaking the approach as now the whole idea, as I reiterate, is making use of the established sales network to promote the league and club itself.

  9. I would love to buy S-League merchandise. But first of all S-league clubs should really redesign their jerseys to look more marketable, nicer and on par with other leagues, just look at J-league, their jerseys are nice. S-league can do it too. I believe in it.

  10. Anyone knows of those OLD S League merchandise (e.g. Beer Mugs etc) STILL being sold elsewhere?


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