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What happens when sport, fashion, media and technology converge? Three million shirts sold – instantly.

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Convergence of fashion and sport


What happens when sport, fashion, media and technology converge?
Three million shirts sold – instantly.

Convergence breeds opportunity

Once mutually exclusive, the worlds of fashion, sport, media and technology continue to converge. Gone are the days where active-wear was worn solely for its purpose, or sold solely in bricks and mortar establishments following catalogue or TV advertising.

Take the recent frenzy around the official release of Nigeria’s World Cup Kit.

Billed as a reflection of a supremely confident, contemporary Nigeria, the audacious, fast, fun and stylish retro-themed kit was revealed by Nike in early February.

The ‘Naija’ spirit infused collection, heavily backed by social media influencers and global media outlets, resulted in an astounding three million online pre-orders, according to the Nigerian Football Federation.

For comparison’s sake, Manchester United shirts were purchased by just over half that number of people in 2016 – globally.

Officially released a day before a pre-world cup friendly match between England and Nigeria, Nike announced the kit has completely sold out after just three hours – total revenue of just under £200m.

Despite already selling upwards of five times the retail price (£64.95) on eBay, Nike has announced that at this stage there are no plans to restock. A smart tactic, as this decision only adds to the exclusivity and uniqueness of the kit.

Social Influencers change the game

Perhaps the rise of the fashionable trainer epitomises this convergence between industries more than any other. From functional shoes to wear while doing sport, trainers are now firmly high fashion with price tags to match.

Instagram is awash with influencers who just post pictures of the latest hard-to-find pair they’ve discovered. Somehow the influencers always end up with the latest gear, often ahead of release, including the exceptionally hard to come by Nigeria World Cup Kit.

With follower counts running into the hundreds of thousands and more, brands know to harness the power of converging technology and social media to boost sales.

A technology-based arms race

As highlighted by SRi Partner Mark Moreau previously, Nike’s kit launch for Nigeria has echoes of adidas’s ‘Calling All Creators’ campaign.

Adidas’ move then to include a wide range of cultural icons – influential musicians, sports stars, designers and more – in their recent campaign demonstrated their belief that to appeal to their target market they must tap into all cultural touch points.

Similarly, Nike’s inclusion of Nigerian born footballers Alex Iwobi and Wilfred Ndidi to model the kit was purposeful – their presence as influential Nigerians reverberates far outside the lines of the football pitch.

It isn’t about just shoes for adidas anymore and Nike’s Nigeria line wasn’t just about playing kit either.

Talent required to harness the power of convergent industries

There’s no question that the convergence of industries such as sport, fashion, media and technology are having a significant material effect on business’s bottom lines.

Nike’s contract with the Nigeria Football Federation is £750,000 for 2018, with additional bonuses for World Cup qualification and other performance incentives. Sales of the recently launched World Cup shirts brought in just shy of £200m in revenue for the sporting goods behemoth.

Such success is available to all (though perhaps not on the same scale) and maintaining a competitive edge in convergent industries is now an arms races to acquire the right in-house talent. Only those who get the right talent on board will succeed.

Isabelle Grosvenor is a Senior Consultant with SRi who specialises in finding transformational talent for the sporting goods, fashion, events and ecommerce industries.

For a confidential discussion, contact Bella directly by email here, or on +44 (0)207 092 6976.