Brasileiro club Corinthians has an estimated 35 million fans.
Pedro Grzywacz's SPR Sports "claims to have built the world’s largest franchise of football club merchandise stores dedicated to one club," according to Joe Leahy of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Brasileiro club Corinthians "is the most popular in São Paulo and the second most popular in Brazil," with an estimated 35 million fans. SPR’s stores are known by the team’s nickname -- Poderoso Timão
-- "or roughly, the Mighty Helm, after the ship’s wheel that is the club’s symbol." With 120 Timão stores and another 100 selling a mix of merchandise from other Brazilian domestic football clubs, Grzywacz said that "he owes his success not just to the popularity of the sport in Brazil but to the rise of a new lower-middle class in the country over the past decade." Grzywacz said, "When you have a certain level of development, people start to work fewer hours per week and have more free time for sports and entertainment." The puzzle for companies "is how to do business with the domestic leagues given their often chaotic financial state." They are frequently "heavily indebted and run by huge boards mostly consisting of sports enthusiasts rather than professional managers." For instance, Erich Beting, who runs sports website Máquina do Esporte, said that Brazil’s most popular club, Rio de Janeiro’s Flamengo, "has 1,000 members on its board, of which 300 might turn up to any given meeting." Day-to-day managers "are not given autonomy." Beting said, "It is very difficult to manage all of that." The company "makes its money by selling a huge range of products" -- 400
lines in total -- from Corinthian baby suits to caps. The jerseys "are
sold under licence from Nike." Grzywacz: "At first Nike’s nose was out of joint;
it did not want to supply the shops. Today, we are the third-largest
football client of Nike in Brazil." His newest
project, started only a few months ago, is a franchise of Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) stores. Nike is supplying 50% of the products "and SPR the other half" (FT, 6/19