Wearing a team uniform is part and parcel of any sport, whether that is netball, football or synchronised swimming. And there are many reasons why this is the case. Here we find out why.
It hasn’t always been the case that sports teams wore a uniform. It is reported that in 1849 baseball team the New York Knickerbockers became one of the first teams to wear a uniform during a game.
Today, almost all sports players and teams wear a uniform and there are many reasons why this is the case.
“Look back in time at any iconic winning sports team and you will see the same merits – unity, camaraderie and good old fashioned team spirit. These all stem from creating a cohesiveness, part of which can be attributed to team colours and co-ordinated team uniform,” says Teri-Louise Deegan, marketing executive at Prestige Leisure.
Wearing a uniform presents a sense of identity, unity, equality and creates a lasting impression.
“Most obviously, teams sport a team kit to make them easily identifiable on the court or pitch to both players and fans,” explains Mark Dix, director at The Outdoors Company. “When games are intense and high energy, it’s essential that you’re seen and your ability to perform utilised quickly.”
Personalise your teamwear
Taking identification one step further beyond colours is the concept of personalisation whether that’s with a team logo, sponsorship or a player’s name or number. Andrea Charteris, customer service manager at PenCarrie explains: “A personalised performance team kit is very important for both the team and the audience. Sports uniforms often have a name, logo and recognisable colour scheme. When worn by members of the team, the audience can easily identify and set apart team members, as well as pick out business logos and brand names. Seeing the same team uniform every game, match or event builds trust and credibility and ensures fans know precisely who their favourite player plays for.”
Mark also agrees that branding on a team uniform is important. “From a branding point of view, a team kit can be so powerful as to be tribal, uniting players and fans and creating a clear sense of belonging and pride. The team kit through its style, quality, colours and design, is instantly recognisable, communicating the team or club’s story, their heritage, their personality, and what they stand for. Put simply, team branding is a big part of how others see the team and how the team is represented.”
Taking Mark’s point about a team kit being almost tribal, Teri-Louise adds: “Avid sports enthusiasts would consider team colours to be akin to war paint, and it this sense of tribalism and belonging is why co-ordinated teamwear is so important. A winning mentality is instituted by players who get inspired by playing for a cause, to use that worn out old cliché; ‘playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the back’.”
Now that you’ve come to realise and understand the importance of teamwear, it is important to remember that teamwear is not only worn by the team itself, but also by the fans. The fan merchandise market is very lucrative and is one to capitalise on as well. Decorating uniforms is really just the beginning when it comes to teamwear. Co-ordinating hats, socks, scarves, bags – if you can customise it teams and their fans will buy it. In addition to offering garments, many decorators are becoming full service providers and offering the full shebang, such as other forms of promotional merchandise – mugs, posters, stickers etc.
To make things easier for your customers you might also want to consider offering an online uniform builder that takes your customers through the entire uniform-decorating process. A builder where they can upload art, select designs, choose from different styles, and then place their order. Offering this kind of service will make the ordering process simpler for your customers and may provide repeat business further down the line,
Remember, a uniform provides a sense of team spirit and pride and it’s important you do too.
David Luke has launched a new sportswear brand for the schoolwear market. Here Kathryn Shuttleworth, managing director, explains how Juco came to be.
“Within the market, we have two extremes when it comes to school sports kit. At one end of the scale, you’ll find a basic PE kit that looks like it’s stepped out of the 80s. Wearing it can make children feel exposed and vulnerable. Especially if sport isn’t their first passion. Then we see instances where schools choose very aspirational brands because they want their teams to portray elitism which can result in pupils feeling alienated. It’s critical that we don’t discourage children from enjoying the simple pleasures of team sports because their kit made them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. We tracked the movements of young people when designing our new sportswear brand Juco to see where the pressure points are during instances of physical exertion. Basing our designs on the realistic movements of teens and taking into consideration any hang-ups they might be experiencing at their stage of life has enabled us to design sportswear with a brilliant fit that is relevant to today’s market.”
Juco delivered by David Luke will be available for summer 2019.