Football Jersey Campaigns: Key Success Factors and Case Studies

Football jerseys are more than just a piece of clothing – they are a symbol of the memories, ideas, and culture of a team. In recent years, football jersey campaigns have become an essential part of the sport’s marketing strategy. A successful football jersey campaign can drive revenue and create a strong connection between a team and its fans. In this article, we will explore the 5 key factors for a successful football jersey campaign, as well as 3 concrete cases.

By Quang T. Pham

This article is part of a Focus Week with the focus topic merchandising. Our FBIN Football Network members vote each month for the topic of the Focus Month.

Factor 1 – Creative Design and Style

The design and style of a football jersey are undoubtedly crucial to its success. A unique and eye-catching design can help a jersey stand out and generate interest among fans. Traditionally, the first kit must stick to the club’s traditions, including the colors and crests, as these are often closely tied to the team’s history and culture. Meanwhile, the second and third kits offer an opportunity for the kit designer to be more creative and experiment with different designs, often drawing inspiration from the team’s home city or culture. This can sometimes result in striking and memorable jerseys that become fan favorites.

The process of designing a football jersey typically takes between 6 to 9 months, but this can vary depending on the club and manufacturer. In general, bigger clubs tend to have more influence over the design process, while smaller clubs may be more reliant on their kit manufacturer’s expertise. 

Factor 2 – Leverage Player Involvement

Involving players in the design process or using their social media to get fans involved in the campaign can be highly effective. With the rise of social media, players have become increasingly influential in promoting their clubs’ jerseys and merchandise. Teams can capitalize on this trend by featuring players prominently in their jersey launches and campaigns, leveraging their social media channels to promote the team’s brand and generate buzz among fans. 

Factor 3 – Authenticity and Story-telling

Fans are often drawn to jerseys that have a unique story behind them or that represent a significant moment in the team’s history. For example, a club may choose to create a special kit that honors a legendary player or commemorate a historic victory. This kind of storytelling adds depth and meaning to the jersey and can help build a deeper connection between fans and the team. To truly capture the hearts of fans, teams can infuse their jerseys with a sense of “authenticity” by carefully selecting design elements that represent their city’s culture, history, or tradition

Factor 4 – Cross-collaboration with other sports or industries 

Football teams can create buzz around their jersey launch and expand their reach to new audiences by forming partnerships with other sports or industries. This cross-collaboration not only provides exposure to a wider fanbase but also allows for the creation of unique and innovative designs that reflect the shared values and identities of both collaborators. One notable example of cross-collaboration is the recent Liverpool and LeBron James Edition jersey. 

Factor 5: Availability and Accessibility

The availability and accessibility of a jersey can massively impact its success. Teams should make their jerseys readily available in stores and online, and offer a variety of sizes and customization options to appeal to fans of all ages and sizes. Furthermore, partnering with key sports retailers/distributors like Unisport and Pro-direct Soccer, as well as e-commerce sites like Amazon, is crucial for football teams to ensure their jerseys are available to fans around the world. With more people switching to online shopping, having reliable partners with great logistics platforms, delivery, and return services can make all the difference in reaching the club’s fanbase. 

Case Studies

Below are three inspiring success stories from the network members of FBIN

Case Study 1: Venezia FC, bringing high fashion into football jersey

Venezia FC, a club from Italy’s Serie B,  has become a prime example of how high fashion can be incorporated into football jerseys. After partnering with Nike for several years, the club switched to Kappa, who produced a fashionable line of football merchandise, including the fashionable black-and-gold home jersey black-and-gold home shirt. 

Venezia’s social media strategy has also contributed to the club’s success. The club has developed its social feed that mimicked the aesthetic of high fashion magazines, which has helped it appeal to both fashionistas and football fans. 

The successful jersey campaign has helped the club tap into a new income stream by distilling its famous geographic location through a fashion lens. This is an authentic way to boost revenue, as the club’s stadium capacity is only 11,000 seats, which limits its ticketing revenue.

A guest article by Fabrizia Monteleone from Venezia FC will follow later this week.

Case Study 2: VfL Bochum’s record-breaking jersey campaign

In 2018, the German Bundesliga’s club began investing in brand development, digital media growth, and content marketing. One of the initiatives to support this mission was the jersey campaign, which was built on three key values: authenticity, down-to-earth, and approachability. In 2019, the club defined its jersey colors as floodlight dark blue, floodlight light blue, and floodlight white. In 2020, the club aimed to extend the success of the jersey campaign over several years and invited agency pitches. Out of five pitching agencies, the club selected Beyer Görges, a local agency, as they demonstrated a deep understanding of the club’s long-term goals and values. The success of the campaign has been significant, with merchandising sales of approximately €2.4 million and over 15,000 jerseys sold until December 2021.

The club started its first campaign in which a key message was developed – “Kein Brimborium”, meaning “no unnecessary fuss”, emphasizing the simplicity of football. This message was incorporated into the campaign to build its essence. The second campaign, “Castroper Straßenfußball,” drew inspiration from Bochum’s stadium characterized by a unique architectural style called “Brutalismus.” The club always traces back to its values and uses them to further develop its campaign story, incorporating elements such as the stadium’s architecture and iconic floodlight pole.

Case Study 3: Pacific FC’s 2022 alternate kit showcased indigenous art and raises awareness for indigenous culture

Pacific FC, our network member from the Canadian Premier League, collaborated with Indigenous artist Maynard Thii Hayqwtun Johnny Jr. to create a black-and-white alternate kit for the 2022 season. The design featured salmon and children’s faces throughout and marks the first Indigenous-designed jersey in Canadian professional sports history, according to the club. This kit received widespread praise both online and at the stadium. The initial batch of shirts sold out quickly on Pacific FC’s online shop, indicating the kit’s popularity among fans. Pacific FC also hoped that the alternate kit will help raise awareness of Indigenous culture throughout the country, and they made a $5,000 donation to the artist’s charity, Hope and Health, which supports Indigenous youth in sports. 

Listen to our podcast: How to start a club from scratch – The story of Pacific FC


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