Valencia takes merchandise operation in-house after Puma deal

Spanish top-flight soccer club Valencia have taken their merchandising business in-house after opting against a renewal with Fanatics, the global sports retail specialists, which has managed the team’s operations for the last two years.

Valencia’s deal with Fanatics saw the club’s merchandising operation managed via the latter’s v-commerce model, distributing to more than 188 markets.

The decision from the La Liga side was taken as part of a new digital business plan. The club has relaunched its online store and digital platforms to allow them to gather more information about their digital community, with improved mapping of user behaviour to give fans personalised offers based on digital activity.

Puma’s deal to become the club’s official kit supplier, signed in April and reportedly worth €4 million (US$4.5 million), sees Valencia become one of the brand’s flagship clubs for its own global retail operation.

In the 2017/18 season, Valencia’s merchandise sales in the country grew 11.6 per cent, bringing in €4.55 million (US$5.13 million). That amount made it the fourth highest in the Spanish top division, behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, according to Palco23.

Keishi Matsuyama, Valencia’s director of digital transformation, said: “The application will become an even more popular resource for fans because it is a fully connected ecosystem.”

Adding: “Based on the arrival data of the fans or purchases, we will create personalised offers and deliver them through the application. With all the data through the application, we can make even more detailed and personal offers to the fans over the years.”

Valencia’s physical stores have also been given a complete overhaul, with the renovation work aiming to entice fans and build on the momentum of the 2018/19 season, which saw the team overcome a poor start to win the Copa del Rey and finish in the Champions League places, Europe’s elite and financially lucrative club competition. The club has already sold 31,000 season tickets ahead of the new campaign, already close to the 41,000 achieved last year, according to Palco23.

Valencia will be hoping the renewed merchandising efforts take them closer to improving their financial fortunes. It closed 2017/18 with losses of €36.22 million (US$40.84 million) and has been plagued by debts over the last decade, exceeding €400 million (US$451 million).

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