PSV Eindhoven and Sunderland bring kit launches back to the fans

In the intervening period between two football seasons, a busy summer takes place. New signings and other preparations for the season ahead have to happen, and new kits are launched, too.

The kit launch is something lots of fans look forward to. If you’re going to watch every game your team plays over the course of an entire season, you’re likely to care about the kit they’ll wear every game.

But the nature of a kit launch makes it an important event for a club’s digital team. With social media engagement now a massive measure for a club’s digital success, the chance to make a fuss out of a kit launch in the name of fan engagement isn’t one to be missed.

More and more, you can see the thought going into it.

It’s nothing new for clubs to want to make a splash to create a buzz around their new threads. After all, it’s a product they want to sell, too. But getting creative around the launch on social media has been taken to a whole new level by some clubs.

Posts of teasing images before star players model the kits for real are commonplace, but some of the more adventurous launches have been genuinely entertaining.

Premier League side Southampton, for example, created a buzz around their kit with a super hero style cartoon featuring some of the club’s current players and legend Matt Le Tissier.

Championship side Sunderland reached out to their fans in order to launch theirs, reflecting the fact that kits are often worn by supporters.The players, well they’ll play in any kit the club gives them! But the fans have to pay for it.

After the Black Cats’ relegation last season, they’ll face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Championship this year, and Wolves’ kit launch took the launch part rather seriously, sending their kit into orbit!

Perhaps the most noticeable thing about this stunt, however, wasn’t actually the sending of the kit into space – in fact, beaten play-off finalists Reading did the same thing last season – but the enlarged sponsor on the front of the shirt.

When it comes to sponsorships for football teams, brands are obviously looking for exposure, and so clubs must often do everything they can to maximise that. Especially in the lower leagues where money is tight and clubs don’t have bumper TV deals to boost their income. A kit launch with the potential to go viral is certainly a great way to keep the sponsors happy, enlarging the logo even more so.

But sometimes it’s best just to go back to basics. Despite the importance of sponsors in the end, it’s the fans who will buy the kit and wear it in public. And all fashion items are personal.

As such, fans look out for a kit launch mostly because they want to wear the kit. And Dutch Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven’s simple yet effective kit teaser is a great example of a back-to-basics kit teaser: models (who look like they could be fans) pose in the new kit ahead of the launch, but the catch is that only a small part of the new kit is visible. But throughout the day, the club posted more and more teasers – and if you were interested enough, you could probably have pieced together the entire kit just from the snippets on show.

Fans may well be easier to engage when there’s no football on, as an audience craving news before the games start again is in some ways a captive one.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 195 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and a regular contributor to Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan91

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