Marketing & Sponsorships

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How Branded Athletic Apparel Can Boost Teen Enrollment in Sports Events

3 May, 2017

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Want to attract teens to your event, or give the enrollment in that age group a boost? Think swag. But not just any swag. A plain ol’ unisex cotton shirt isn’t going to get the job done. No, in this case, it’s essential to get dialed into what teens want.

Brand awareness – never something that teens lack – is going to be your best friend here. According to an article in Sporting Goods Business Online, certain brands are gaining ground.

Nike, Adidas, Lululemon, Vans and Patagonia are all desirable to teens – while The North Face and (surprise) Under Armour are losing the race.

The information comes from Piper Jaffray’s Taking Stock With Teens Spring 2017 report.

Athletic apparel is a go-to for teenagers; in fact, 41% of teens named an athletic brand as their preferred apparel brand – and adidas shares hit a 10-year high for upper-income males.

Nike’s dominance as the preferred footwear brand among teens continued but the brand also saw a big leap in apparel preference. Adidas’ turnaround was marked in notable gains in both apparel and footwear among both genders.

Other things that will bring in teens include events that encourage interfacing with connective devices, Fitbit continued to dominate. Apple jumped to second, up from third. Nike slid to third. Rounding out the top five preferred connected devices for spring 2017 were Garmin, and Jawbone. Fitbit also ranked as the favorite fitness app, followed by Apple, Under Armour, Nike and Samsung.

Why is all this important? Because this age group is something everyone wants to hang onto. Despite the fact that participation in high school sports remains strong (and has for nearly 30 years), participation in club, rec and travel appears to drop off when kids hit their teen years. An article in the Washington Post noted this phenomenon, and a poll from the National Alliance for Youth Sports backs it up.

Swag – while it can’t take the place of a great performance on the field of play – can act as an inducement that gets teens into sports, whether it’s a ball team, even a pickleball tournament. And who knows? Maybe it keeps them coming back.

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