Sports leagues and consumer brands team up on unique merch offerings

Young fans are willing to splurge on merchandise that showcases their favorite sports teams, and interest in such products is only poised to grow, as addressed in our newly released report, Game Changers. Unique new partnerships for branded team paraphernalia demonstrate rising demand and how today, any brand can find its place in sports culture.


Since a fan’s allegiance to a sports team often starts at an early age, the MLB has partnered with the Honest Company on branded team diapers. The “Born a Fan” collection is available for six teams—the Boston Red Socks, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, and St. Louis Cardinals—with each featuring a design consisting of the team’s logo interspersed with monuments and icons of its city. Target is the exclusive retailer of the eco-friendly diapers until May; then the collection will be available at other stores and on the Honest Company’s website.


Fans tend to live and breathe their favorite teams, and KIA Motors gave them a more literal way to do so by creating team-scented air fresheners for March Madness. In conjunction with fragrance manufacturers, the official automotive sponsor of the NBA created scents that sought to encapsulate the personality of each team’s city, as well as the history of the franchise and the culture of its fan base. The air fresheners were available for free for those who test drove vehicles at select KIA dealerships across the country.


LA-based subscription company Loot Crate partnered with the MLB and the MLB Players Association on Sports Crate, a monthly mystery box filled with team and player merchandise. Currently, the partnership consists of paraphernalia for 10 teams, including the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodges, New York Mets and Yankees, and San Francisco Giants. Fans select their favorite team and receive a thematic monthly package of products (and the occasional experience) to elevate their fandom, such as exclusive apparel and collectibles. Sports Crate plans to expand to additional teams within the year.