IT’S OFFICIAL: The Official League has partnered with Borussia Dortmund football team, better known as BVB, to bolster its North American fanbase. In the United States, fandom has long been about merchandise, as leading and struggling teams create a plethora of team-inspired merchandise for viewers and ticket holders, who are inclined to wear the names and numbers of their favorite players.
The association of the Portland, Oregon-based official brand and BVB will include licensed products slated to debut in September or October. The union comes as the licensed sports business continues to expand internationally. Valued at $22.3 billion in 2020, the sector is expected to be valued at $27.2 billion by 2026, according to a report by Research and Markets. Last year, the US licensed sporting goods market was estimated at $5.4 billion, or 23.7% of the overall global licensed sporting goods market.
Launched in February, the Official League has accumulated partners in the NBA, USL and Major League Rugby, among other sports. To bring more attention to the crowded realm of sports and team-centric brands, The Official League has rolled out The Official League Collectors Club, a hat-of-the-month club subscription service. The company, which was started by Alan Miller and is financially backed by Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers chief operating officer Neil Leibman and his investment partners at Top Tier Sports, focuses instead on local, limited edition and exclusive team products. of a bunch of licensed items.
The BVB deal is a combination of the new and the established. The German football club has roots that date back to 1909. With an annual turnover of 400 million euros and 16.5 million Instagram followers, Borussia Dortmund recently qualified for the second round of the DfB Pokal, a knockout football competition held annually by the German Football Association, thanks in large part to BVB striker Donyell Malen, who was involved in all three of the team’s goals in the 1860 defeat Munich.
The new BVB products, which will initially include six limited edition hats, will be available to consumers from September. For the first year, merchandise will only be sold on the official League website, according to a company spokeswoman, who declined to comment on the expected wholesale volume for the first year. @bvbshop fans on Instagram are out of luck as they won’t find the new hats there.
Official League and BVB have been connected through Collide, a Los Angeles-based branding consultancy that focuses on innovation and culture.