Recent survey found that there was more demand than supply for women’s sports merchandise
The GIST: On Monday, the Sports Business Journal (SBJ) and the Wasserman Group released a study highlighting the dearth of women’s sports merch, especially when it comes to soccer. The lack of women’s soccer merch is heavily juxtaposed by fans’ rapidly growing interest in repping women footballers. Receipts don’t be looking like phone numbers.
The background: The study was conducted as part of Wasserman’s The Collective Think Tank initiative, which was launched in 2020 to share research from professors and education professionals at academic institutions and sports organizations. It surveyed American, English, and Aussie fans about merchandise for their countries’ national teams and pro leagues.
The results: The survey found (surprise, surprise) more demand than supply for women’s sports merchandise. It also captured complaints from fans about available merch, citing undesirable styles, fits, and sizing. Respondents also mentioned wanting to financially support their teams but being unable to do so, exposing a massive roadblock in the growth of women’s soccer. Road work ahead.
Fan support: Despite these issues, recent numbers show that fans are still trying to support their favorite teams where they can. The USWNT’s home kit became the top-selling soccer jersey on Nike.com during their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) title run and the Lionesses’ online merch sales increased 710% (!!!) after this year’s tournament.
- The 2023 WWC also saw Matildas jerseys outsell older versions of the kit 13 to 1, surpassing sales of the men’s.
Zooming out: The results of the study emphasize an issue that could be remedied through market research, upgrading production quality, and ramping up distribution. Improving these aspects would require more investors in the space, but the numbers promise a high return — women’s sports fans are 25% more likely to buy than fans of men’s sports.
- And the promising returns of investing in and supporting women’s sports doesn’t just apply to brands that sell merch, it holds true for companies across the board. There is room for everyone at the table, no RSVP needed.