2017 is a massive year for sport. The Rio Summer Olympics and Paralympics, Euro 2016, French Open, the Tour de France, Davis Cup and the Ryder Cup were just a few of the jewels in the year’s sporting crown. Sporting excellence inspires the general public to get fit or join a club and these clubs may well be equally inspired to up their game when it comes to branding, advertising, merchandise and kits.
Savvy print providers can take full advantage of Roland’s wide range of digital print technologies to offer a host of new products to existing customers and also open the door to profitable new customers and markets.
So how do you get the ball rolling?
Here are 8 types of applications you may already creating – and maybe some that you’re not – and ideas on how to promote them to sports clubs, associations, gyms and more.
1 - Signage
Sports clubs need a huge range of external and internal signage and graphics, including pitch-side advertising hoardings and directional signage to the changing rooms, pitch or clubhouse. These can be printed using Roland’s durable eco-solvent inks and cut on hard-wearing media using an integrated printer/cutter, such as the TrueVIS VG Series. Signs can be customised for each fixture – or to promote an upcoming event.
You can produce framed details of the club’s history and top sporting achievements, famous players on a wall-mounted mural or as bespoke wallpaper, even floor graphics and personalised decals for players’ lockers. Once you start thinking of the possibilities it becomes difficult to know when to stop.
2 - Soft signage
Increasingly popular, soft signage has become a lucrative revenue stream. If you have a dye sublimation printer you can produce a broad range of soft signage including textile displays, banners, tear-drops, bunting and flags. Lightweight, portable, easy to transport and install, soft signage is the perfect solution for sports teams who want make an impact when travelling to away matches.
With the right heat-transfer media and the right material, soft signage can also be printed using an eco-solvent machine. All you need is an additional heat press, or a local supplier who can do it for you.
3 - Posters and banners
Posters and banners are a staple product for print service providers. Fast and easy to produce, they are the perfect application to help drive awareness about a club’s sporting or social events, matches and tournaments. And on the day of the event, clubs will need directional signage, checkpoints, logoed tabards for race marshals, start and finish points, and shirts.
4 - Team kits and apparel using print & cut
With a Roland print & cut device, you can produce a huge range of striking team logos, lettering, numbers and graphics. Using heat transfer media, you can customise an entire wardrobe of sportswear, from shirts, shorts and jackets to hats, bags and even shoes.
Roland print & cut devices are compatible with a wide variety of heat transfer media such as matt, glossy, reflective, metallic, stretchable and even textured fabric, allowing you to create winning designs.
5 - Team kits and apparel using dye sublimation
The wider the range of technologies you use, the wider the range of personalised products you can offer customers. It’s not just players who want their names on the back of their shirts and using a dye sublimation printer you can customise apparel and merchandise for fans too –even scarves, flags and gloves. You can also print intricate designs including club logos and sponsors’ advertising messages onto stretchy sports fabrics.
And the future’s particularly bright if you’re choosing Texart ink, specially formulated for use with Roland’s dye-sublimation transfer printer range which includes the Texart XT 640. Texart ink is now available in fluorescent yellow and fluorescent pink, as well as orange and violet – to offer a vast colour gamut that enables you to accurately match even the brightest team colours and produce amazing bespoke designs.
Plus, whether you’re producing one item or 500, set up costs and time are fixed and low so even the smallest of orders is still cost effective and profitable.
6 - Vehicle graphics and wraps
Vehicle wrapping is now so popular that some print suppliers do almost nothing else and most sports clubs will have some sort of team transport. Whether it’s a minibus, car or a coach, it will provide the perfect surface for partial or total wrapping, the application of print & cut vinyl lettering, blackout window films, one-way graphics or adhesive logos. Additionally, classic car clubs, amateur racing teams (four wheels or two) and go-kart tracks can be a regular source of repeat business. With lots of wear and tear on the track, the vehicles’ labels, stickers and signs will regularly need to be replaced.
7 - Merchandise and equipment
Merchandising isn’t just for the professionals; locals and amateurs are proud of the clubs they belong to and have their supporters too. Thanks to Roland’s digital print & cut and UV-LED inkjet devices, you can diversify into producing high-profit personalised products and one-off promotional items. It’s simple and affordable to incorporate a Roland UV-LED device into your existing workflow – and production is faster and much cleaner when compared with pad or screen printing. You can print hundreds of different graphics onto a range of promotional items including pens, mugs, smart phone and tablet covers, coasters for the club bar, photo frames, celebration beer bottles and much more.
It doesn’t stop there. Clubs also sell personalised equipment such as tennis rackets, golf balls and cricket bats. And as a Roland device has the ability to print variable data, you can print a whole team’s worth of items, personalised for each player, during the same print run.
8 - Trophies and awards
Using Roland’s LEF UV range you can combine the precision of UV printing with high impact matt and gloss embossed effects to cost-efficiently produce high-quality personalised awards, trophies and medals. Or you could invest in a Roland desktop engraver to produce long-lasting engraved plaques and trophy plates.
With your existing printer, you could simply print & cut a sticker or decal on clear media and apply it to the base of the trophy for a basic yet effective alternative.
You’ve got to be in it to win it- 4 ways to get started right now
Hopefully this has given you some useful ideas about how you could approach some of your existing customers with applications you’re currently producing, or potential clients with solutions you would like to offer. If you’re not already doing so, here are a couple of ideas about what you could do next to get your message out there:
1. Draw up a hit list of target customers
You could set up site visits with a couple of local clubs you don’t currently work with (and get back in touch with some you’ve done work for in the past), and perhaps go to a match beforehand to look the site over and identify what applications you could pitch to the club.
2. Create a portfolio of your relevant work
If you already have customers in the sector, use photos of jobs you’ve created for them to produce a flyer to send or email to other local clubs and associations in the area. You could also ask them if they’d be happy to give an endorsement as to the quality of work you’ve done (depending on team rivalry!).
3. Make the most of social media and the web
With platforms such as Facebook you can choose your audience and send a targeted message that meets their exact needs. If you think the market is large enough to justify it, a dedicated page about sporting applications on your website will demonstrate that you’re a specialist with a proven track record in this type of work.
4. Offer samples
Potential customers might not be interested in the technology you use, but they will be very interested in what it can do so it could be worth producing some bespoke samples to target specific clubs in your area. The more you can show, the more chance you have of winning their custom.
Contact your local Roland dealer for further tips and information. Welcome to the sports field, have fun.