Borussia Dortmund Set To Court American Fans With An Official League Deal

By 2026, the global licensed team sports merchandise market is expected to reach $27.6 billion.

Official League has partnered with soccer team Borussia Dortmund, also known as BVB, to expand its North American fan base. In the United States, fandom has long been a matter of merchandise, with leading teams and struggling ones alike producing a plethora of team-inspired products for viewers and ticket holders who like to wear the names and numbers of their favorite players.

The collaboration between the Portland, Oregon-based sports-friendly brand Official League and BVB will include licensed merchandise, which will be available in September or October. The union comes as the licensed sports industry continues to expand globally.

Borussia Dortmund Set To Court American Fans With An Official League Deal
Borussia Dortmund Set To Court American Fans With An Official League Deal

According to a Research and Markets report, the sector is expected to be worth $27.2 billion by 2026, up from $22.3 billion in 2020. Last year, the U.S. market for licensed sports merchandise was estimated to be $5.4 billion, accounting for 23.7 percent of the global market for licensed sports merchandise.

Official League, which debuted in February, has partners in the NBA, USL, and Major League Rugby, among other sports. Official League launched the Official League Collector’s Club, a hat-of-the-month club subscription service, to gain traction in the crowded field of athletic and team-centric brands.

The company, founded by Alan Miller and funded by Neil Leibman, chief operating officer of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers, and his Top Tier Sports investment partners, focuses on local, limited-edition, and exclusive team merchandise rather than a broad range of licensed items.

The BVB transaction combines the new and the old. The German football club’s origins can be traced back to 1909. Borussia Dortmund, which has a turnover of 400 million euros and 16.5 million Instagram followers, recently advanced to the second round of the DfB Pokal, a German knockout football competition held annually by the German Football Association, thanks largely to BVB forward Donyell Malen, who was involved in all three goals in the team’s defeat of 1860 Munich.

The new BVB products, which will initially include six limited-edition hats, will be available to consumers in September. According to a company spokeswoman, the merchandise will only be sold on the Official League’s website for the first year, and she declined to comment on the first-year projected wholesale volume. Fans of @bvbshop on Instagram will be disappointed because the new hats are not available there.

Collide, a Los Angeles-based brand strategy consultancy focused on innovation and culture, connected Official League and BVB.

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