High-quality event merchandise is one of the best ways to gain brand exposure. These are items that people actually want to use and wear – think walking billboards. Investing in the right merchandise means that your brand will be visible to the right people. That way, your branded gear becomes a walking, talking billboard for your event. It’s a type of exposure that’s meaningful, and tough to buy. Plus, sales of this branded merchandise will generate additional revenue and boost your bottom line.

What are the best items to brand and sell? Read on.

Think Practical

One approach is to produce practical items. Look for products that your participants and spectators will use regularly. Items that they’ll wear and use around other athletes are especially valuable. Some ideas include:

  • Training apparel—technical tees and vests, cycling kits, hats, visors, or headbands
  • Gym, swim, or travel bags
  • Beach or gym towels
  • Water bottles
  • Swim caps

Stay On-Trend

Trendy styles are popular for a reason. If you want your event to exude a hip, fun vibe, avoid styles from the 80s. Be sure to add in-fashion lifestyle items to your lineup. This allows your athletes and fans to merge their passion for your race with their day-to-day. Lifestyle products include:

  • Trucker hats and beanies
  • Athleisure apparel—hoodies, yoga pants, tech fabric polo shirts, board shorts, jackets, and flip-flops
  • Accessories—jewelry, watches, and tote bags

Deliver Quality

There’s nothing worse than seeing an item with your logo in the trash bin! Whatever products you choose to sell, don’t skimp on quality. Even something as small as a keychain should be well made. If you sell shirts that lose their shape, or water bottles that leak, it will reflect poorly on your brand.

Create a Signature Look

All merchandise items should carry your logo to ensure visibility. You can stay subtle—with a smaller logo on a sleeve—or you can go bold, with oversized or abstract graphics. Whatever your approach, create designs that people in your target market will enjoy. Use a graphic artist to create a cool, consistent look for all the merchandise for your event.

Cut Costs by Co-Branding

Quality comes with a price tag, so look to product manufacturers or sponsors to help offset the costs. Co-branding is a great way to share the expense and provide exposure to both brands. Don’t forget the value of the athlete audience that you provide. New companies with innovative products will be especially eager to reach your participants.

Expand Your Selling Season

Any day is a good day to sell event merchandise. Don’t limit your sales to your expo or race day only. Encourage sales throughout the entire event lifecycle (pre-race, expo, race day, and post-race). Offer merchandise online within the registration system as an “add-on” to the entry fee. You can also create a merchandise store on your website. Keep those virtual doors open year-round!

Learn From the Best

Want examples of event merchandise done right? Here are a few of our favorite event stores:

  • The Spartan Race series offers all the obstacle course racing gear you need to reach the finish line. Plus, they have plenty of cool, casual options for post-race chillaxing.
  • The Leadville Race series sells a broad range of items with their signature look. You’ll even find a branded belt to pair with your finisher’s buckle.
  • Ironman encourages athletes to wear their gear with pride. Finisher apparel can be customized with finish times and distances.
  • The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series hosts a year-round online store and onsite shopping. T-shirts sold at the expo have a graphic containing the names of every single competitor.

Want more ideas to make your merchandise standout? Read our blog that covers the A to Z of ensuring race day success here. We work with hundreds of events and can share what has been successful for others. Just give us a call at 855-709-4555.