MILAN — It’s often said that one’s favorite soccer team is forever. Which might be true for the 736 million fans that soccer has reportedly attracted in 2017 across 18 surveyed markets, according to a study released by American measurement and data analytics company Nielsen.
The number translates into a big opportunity for companies across different categories and especially for fashion brands supplying off-the-field uniforms and developing co-branded capsule collections, to bank on soccer’s global relevance and possibly tap into new customers.
For instance, Thom Browne joined the arena last year by crafting for the first time the off-the-field tailored and formalwear uniforms of FC Barcelona with a deal covering the next three years, while Hugo Boss has renewed its partnership with the AS Roma, FC Bayern, Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain teams.
Players from the FC Bayern Munich soccer team outfitted by Boss.
Some remain skeptical. “As a marketing tool, I’m uncertain about the return on investment. First of all, there’s a target issue: Are fans of soccer teams target customers for these brands?” wondered Alessandro Maria Ferreri, chief executive officer of The Style Gate consultancy firm. He noted that brands are often putting a lot of money and efforts