SBD/August 18, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

CFL Roughriders Rank Third in Canadian Sports Merchandise Sales

Poker set one of many unique products sporting Roughriders' logo
The CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders have the "third highest merchandise sales of all Canadian sports teams, behind only" the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens, and the Roughriders last year made C$10M "in merchandise alone, the most in Canadian Football League history," according to Wendy Gillis of the TORONTO STAR. Much of the team's "off-field success -- along with three recent trips to the Grey Cup final -- comes from being the only professional game in a province that's become increasingly wealthier in recent years." The "unprecedented success can also be attributed to a significant expansion in products, thanks to having dozens of licensees." Fans can purchase "Rider-themed light-switch covers, ceramic chip and dip bowls, motor oil, fish hooks -- even a Rider poker set." Roughriders VP/Sales & Marketing Steve Mazurak said that all of the product ideas "come from the fans." The club is trying to "meet demand without diluting the brand." But Mazurak said, "It's not a crazy idea if someone's willing to buy it." Mazurak added, "Our No. 1 is our jerseys. They are the heart and soul of merchandise across the province." But Gillis reports the "undeniable success with jerseys doesn't mean there isn't room for growth: Expanding to womenswear, for instance, has opened new profit potential." The Roughriders currently offer "six different types of women's jerseys." Jersey City spokesperson Brent Boyle, whose company is the largest independent jersey retailer in Canada, said, "The female clientele is becoming an ever-increasing part of our customer base. A good chunk of our business is kids, and it's Mom going down and helping pick it out" (TORONTO STAR, 8/18).
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