Bleacher Report Is a Branded Apparel Company Now, Apparently
Since its 2007 inception, Bleacher Report has come to epitomize coverage of the sports and sports culture worlds. But noting which players find themselves on the trading block and who is the biggest prize in the free agent market, among other observations, is not all that the Turner Broadcasting System-owned website should receive praise for practicing. Yesterday, it upped its e-commerce game through a branded apparel partnership with Dwyane Wade, the soon-to-be-retired Miami Heat superstar whose eponymous World Tour line marks memories of his illustrious career.
Bleacher Report hit our e-commerce radar in July thanks to its music- and soccer-centric branded merchandise collection, a brainchild that led us to give a mention to a Carmelo Anthony-meme-inspired sweatshirt. Like Anthony, whose NBA future remains uncertain following the Chicago Bulls’ Feb. 1 decision to waive him, Wade is a legend and will certainly enter the Hall of Fame for his efforts. Having logged 16 years in the league, Wade is making this his final season of hitting clutch shots and playing tight defense.
As such, Bleacher Report has made the surefire revenue-increasing decision to give an homage to the 13-time All-Star through a three-phase merch release all through its online platform. Thus far, eight items are available for purchase, with our favorite easily being the $39 long-sleeve shirts that offer a timeline of Wade’s biggest basketball achievements, including his three titles as a member of the Heat.
.@DwyaneWade's rocking a "world tour" shirt with his best career moments on it 👀 What was your favorite?
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 5, 2019
His team presently holds the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, so it would certainly be far more lucrative for him and Bleacher Report if the Heat were to secure a playoff spot, thus enabling admirers in Miami, Cleveland (where he spent one season as a Cavalier), Chicago (where he was born and played one year as a Bull) and other cities to celebrate his achievements with more gusto. We do not know the timing of the other two collections’ releases, but Hot New Hip Hop has noted that no matter their drop times, his line is to “kick off an overarching ‘World Tour’ merchandising campaign that will fuse sports and music through fashion, and celebrate the world’s most popular athletes.”
Given that admission, we consider it a slam dunk for Bleacher Report to say “yes” to considerations that will further promote e-commerce options long after that World Tour campaign—whatever it will come to involve—ends. Dedicated audiences will flock to such products, especially if the goods are centered on the NBA, whose average team is worth $1.9 billion and whose last season revenue reached $8 billion. With so many superstars, both established and fledgling, to market, it would be wise for owners to go the branded apparel route through Bleacher Report.
It's also a smart move by yet another digital publisher to sell branded apparel and other merchandise as a means of offsetting declining online ad revenue or just supplementing existing revenue. Bleacher Report's web traffic remains remains fairly strong, but additional revenue streams are never a bad thing, especially ones as creatively executed as this one.