There’s just something about wearing your favorite athlete’s name across your back. It makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself. It screams loyalty. And, says this is my player and I’ll bet on them until the end of time.
A little history lesson…
We don’t want to bore you, but bear with us while we give you a brief rundown of the jersey. The jersey itself can be traced back to the increase in popularity of team sports in the late 19th century. Uniforms began switching from neutrals like grey to dyed fabrics in an array of colors to differentiate the teams. Events like the Olympic games and other major sporting events increased the development of specialized sportswear. The 1980’s ushered in an era of synthetic fibers like polyester, eventually leading to the jerseys we all know and love today.
Have you heard of Urban Champs?
At Campus Ink, jerseys have become a major part of our business. We currently have 11 NIL stores live, six of which currently have jerseys available for purchase. We have a multitude of additional stores currently being built by our team and dozens of other schools are in our pipeline. The jerseys sold on these stores are all Urban Champs, our private label brand for jerseys and other specialty items. Urban Champs merchandise is also featured in retail locations like bookstores and stadiums. For us, Urban Champs is the intersection between high-quality merchandise and inclusive NIL apparel.
But as you’ll see later, jerseys are not just limited to athletes…
A hockey jersey… for a basketball player?
Would you believe us if we told you that our single-product sales record was set by a hockey jersey that we put out for a basketball player? Well, it’s true.
At Campus Ink, we believe that NIL apparel is all about capitalizing on moments. So, when we heard that Zach Edey’s mom had been infamously sporting a handmade hockey jersey to his games, we knew we had to act quick. Within a few days, we had “The Big Maple” Zach Edey Hockey Jersey up on the website available for purchase. In no time the sales took off, making it our most successful drop to date.
To make this situation even more incredible, this drop took off without a single ounce of promotion from Zach Edey himself. Before you grab your bucket of popcorn and wait to hear some tea, it’s not because Zach doesn’t like us. It’s because he’s an international player and there are some very specific rules that prevent him from promoting his products. So, while we typically rely heavily on the student-athletes to promote their products, we were flying solo on this one. And boy did Purdue fans show up. Purdue fans are passionate individuals who are constantly looking for ways to support their student-athletes.
During a broadcast John Crispin with ESPN commented on the jersey drop, “If you want to go be great and capitalize on NIL, go be great somewhere and stay there. They’ll sell hockey jerseys with Zach Edey’s name and number on it. Why? Because he’s awesome and they’ll buy it. That’s what NIL is all about.” We always say that apparel should be fun. Why should a basketball player be limited to just basketball jerseys? If you’re wondering why a hockey jersey? Well, it pays homage to Zach’s Canadian roots. This drop became one of those special moments where we could do something big for a student-athlete that honors who he is and helps to develop his personal brand.
Who says athletes get to have all the fun?
In addition to working closely with college athletic programs and athletes, Campus Ink has always had a strong connection to students. We employ a number of student designers on college campuses all across the country. These students act as a liaison between our business and the college communities that they belong to.
This spring, the student designers decided to get in on the jersey fun. They organized a $35 basketball jersey bulk order promotion which included custom names and numbers on the backs of the jerseys. Turns out, students really like jerseys. From themed events to bar crawls and everything in between, jerseys are a great alternative to traditional t-shirts or hoodies.
Student designers from college campuses in states like Nebraska, Florida and Illinois sold jerseys to fraternities and sororities as well as other clubs and organizations. The jersey push resulted in thousands of dollars in sales, a portion of which goes back to the student designers in the form of commission.
Jerseys make a statement. Whether you’re sporting your favorite athlete or reppin’ the best bar on campus they make people stop and take notice.