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How I Became a Brooklyn Nets Fan: the Power of a Brand
I’m the first to admit that I know very little about basketball and the heritage of the NBA. But I’m an avid sports fan and have starting watching more NBA games this season than ever before.
A few years ago I decided to go for what was then looking like the best team in the League, adopting the Miami Heat as my team. With Lebron, Wade and Bosch on the team they were going to win it all several times over. But this changed when the Nets re-emerged this year as the Brooklyn Nets. And it was nothing to do with the team that they had assembled (I still know very little about the players), it was because of their logo and merchandise line that made me want to adopt this team!
This may seem a bit strange – to adopt a team on fashion alone, however there are strong links that a Pro Sporting team is really about fashion and merchandise sales verses what they do on the park/court/oval – although on-field success helps off-field sales.
The logo is very important to get buy in from fans. The original New Jersey Nets logo is below, Compare this to the more modern logo that the Brooklyn Nets have evolved….the strong black and white logo enables the brand to stretch into more fashionable lines due to the traditional colours that are prominent in street where.
Even selecting Brooklyn for the home team enables the designers to use the logo in more fashion lines as the team’s home borough is world famous as a logo on fashion lines.
Old v New
The staff at the Nets understand that sportswear is about fashion. The clothing looks good and the line was launched in the Summer edition of SLAM magazine – a mag dedicated to the NBA.
Furthermore, the line was available immediately across the globe so that fans could kit out before and during the season. I picked up my cap in Las Vegas at the airport so I could rep my team when I got back to Australia.
The other key element of owing a fashion brand is about timing. Being on trend and timely are so important. This reminds me of my local Australian Rules Football team (AFL) Port Adelaide. A couple of seasons ago they changed their jersey to a new design. When I went to buy one for my son at the start of the season they weren’t available and needed to be ordered. The shirt eventually arrived in May – 10 weeks into the season.
The club didn’t learn from this experience and with week 4 of the AFL season about to start they are only just inventorying merchandise that has the new sponsor – Renault – on the gear.
Timing and be prepared is essential, as Brooklyn have demonstrated to get sales and support for a team.
What Does This Mean for the Nets in 2013?
Yesterday I watch the opening playoff match between Brooklyn and Chicago. The arena was painted black by the fans who all wore black to the opening game. The Nets played superbly and smashed the Bulls by 17 points.
During a break in the play a reporter interviewed the Nets coach, PJ Carlesimo who said:
“Last year we were the worse in the league in ticket sales and merchandise, but this year we are #1 in both.”
This is the power of a brand and a merchandise offer that compliments the brand. The Nets seem to have something right.