One of the criteria in becoming Australia’s number 1 sport is not only measured in TV ratings and stadia attendance but who reeks more money into the apparel cash register as well. Merchandising has become the new battleground for the number 1 spot.
Both leagues increased annual growth rate. Thanks to the Internet, transactions on the AFL and NRL online shop have become the major vehicle driving them to a steep sales growth. Apart from department store fixtures, online commerce helped fans out of town to engage without actually visiting the traditional stores. Ironically, the best-selling team in Australia is not an Australian team, but a huge expat following put the New Zealand Warriors on the top spot. None of the franchises in both codes have so far matched the drawing power of the Kiwi fans all over the state. And they have manifested this In huge capitalisation on the Warrior’s brand. Not just for profit but the players are so much lifted to see their gear being worn by fans, and by knowing the actual sales of their brand gives them the idea of how much they are loved.
The Kiwi administrators have studied the demographics of their reach in terms of NRL online shop sales. They see a large trend of the under-20s following and have released merchandise appealing to this age bracket, especially holographic designs. Other niches have also been capitalised, especially the often neglected female followers, with designs and colors appealing to women. The approach and attention provided to this overlooked niche have provided them a remarkably lucrative market.
In the NRL, a club gets 80% of their jersey’s wholesale price. The remaining 20% is distributed by the NRL officials amongst all clubs. Somewhat adopting a Marxist approach. For off-field, the split of revenue in merchandise trading is 20% for NRL, 40% for the club and 40% distributed amongst all clubs. The idea of allocating a percentage to less popular teams is to make sure they also enjoy the success of the entire league. All members do not have any violent reactions regarding the fairness of this system, as some of the currently top selling teams have once been in the bottom. Everyone agrees that it is still a fair arrangement.