Old Navy Announces Sports Clothing Line, But Will Anyone Buy it?

 @http://twitter.com/jtalty on August 16 2011 10:59 AM
Old Navy
Old Navy is attempting to tap into the lucrative sports apparel market with its Superfan Nation clothing line. REUTERS

Old Navy announced its entry into the lucrative sports apparel market with its Superfan Nation, an in-store shop set to debut later in August.

The Superfan Nation will debut in 1,000 Old Navy stores and feature clothing from NFL teams and select collegiate programs, such as Texas, Kentucky, and Stanford.

It will offer merchandise from 32 teams and 71 colleges to men, women, and children in its stores across the country. It will take a regional approach with its merchandise supply -- supplying stores with NFL teams and colleges that appeal to the regional area.

For instance in Texas stores it could feature Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, and University of Texas merchandise.

"There's an opportunity to reach a different consumer here and get more exposure for the brand," said Craig Westemeier, assistant athletic director at the University of Texas at Austin, to the Wall Street Journal.

The key question, though, is -- will Old Navy ever become a destination spot for sports fans?

Doubtful.

Old Navy tends to appeal to a younger demographic, offering cheaper clothing alternative than its parent company Gap. But although it has offered sports apparel since 2009, it hasn't taken a major market share away from industry leaders Dick's Sporting Goods and Modell's Sporting Goods.

But even a small market share of the industry could be lucrative for Old Navy. College apparel nets $4.3 billion in sales a year, while NFL merchandise checks in at an estimated $3.25 billion, according to License Global Magazine.

Old Navy will aggressively market the SuperFan Nation through a million dollar marketing campaign, which includes a 10-day national advertising campaign and in-stadium promotions.

But although the campaign could raise awareness-the success of SuperFan Nation will be through spur of the moment, or incidental, purchases.

It's doubtful that hardcore sports fans will leave their usual sporting goods stores for Old Navy, but consumers that regularly go into Old Navy could end up with a college t-shirt for their husband or child. At least that's what the University of Kentucky is hoping to get out of the deal.  

"We think the sky's the limit, but the only way to continue to grow is to reach new consumers who wouldn't previously have bought our products," said Jason Schlafer, assistant athletic director at University of Kentucky, to the Wall Street Journal. "We're going to a retailer whose customers walk in the door not expecting to buy college product but who could walk out with University of Kentucky merchandise."

 

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