GlobalData’s Global Sportswear Market to 2027 report highlighted a surge in the collaboration between fashion brands and sports teams.

It added this trend has gained momentum in recent years as brands seek to expand their customer bases and leverage the teams’ large following of loyal fans and ability to influence their purchasing decisions.

The report indicated that sports teams are also capitalising on the popularity of sportswear in everyday attire by enhancing the fashion appeal of their own merchandise collections to grow awareness.

For example, the report revealed that in August 2023, UK football club Crystal Palace became the first Premier League club to appoint a creative director to oversee the launch of fashionable collections that go beyond traditional merchandise for the club.

This move was aimed at driving awareness and boosting perceptions of the club among younger demographics as football tshirts have found their place in the fashion scene and are being worn by prominent influencers.

In another example luxury fashion brand Armani created a football shirt to be worn by SSC Napoli players. The kit came in a range of colourways from the club’s traditional blue to orange and green in a move to evoke the vibrancy of the club’s city Naples.

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The report explained this venture gave Armani the chance to reach new customers and further enhance its credentials in the sportswear market, having been the official kit provider for the Italian Olympics and Winter Olympics teams since 2012, reinforcing its performance expertise.

Are collaborations being used to enhance brand visibility and boosting sales?

According to apparel company filings data shared by GlobalData over a five-year period from January 2019 to January 2024, the term “collaboration” emerged as the most-used keyword within the industry.

Usage of the term “collaboration” peaked in 2021 with 24 mentions, however, it fell and reached 16 mentions in 2023. Other keywords that followed included “sustainable” and “coalition”.

Credit: GlobalData

A recent McKinsey report noted that “brand marketing” will take centre stage in 2024 with 71% of fashion executives planning to spend more in this space than previously.

It said brands may lean into brand marketing to refine how they establish emotional connections with consumers and will likely collaborate across the fashion industry and adjacent sectors to build compelling brand stories.

Our signals coverage is powered by GlobalData’s Thematic Engine, which tags millions of data items across six alternative datasets — patents, jobs, deals, company filings, social media mentions and news — to themes, sectors and companies. These signals enhance our predictive capabilities, helping us to identify the most disruptive threats across each of the sectors we cover and the companies best placed to succeed.