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The Terrace – the saviour of football retail?

Founded in 2018, The Terrace has become one of the fastest growing sporting retail companies in the industry.

The organisation’s company ethos is “more than just an order number” and their hands-on interaction with fans is proving to be a hit so far.

In their first 17 months of operation, the company has sold over 10,000 units of merchandise to a worldwide customer base.

Seen by over five million people worldwide each month, The Terrace have also entered licensed partnerships with various Premier League and English Football League clubs.

“We are delighted to partner with The Terrace to bring supporters a fantastic range of official licensed retro products,” Sean Davies – the retail and licensing director for Fulham FC, told FC Business.

“The Terrace team have been great to work alongside and this exciting new licensing partnership is one we expect to grow and develop quickly over the coming season.”

So, what is the secret behind their rapid growth? To put it simply, the products that they produce are innovative, creative and appealing to a broad market.

For example, one look at their online store will show retro West Ham merchandise, ranging from pint glasses to Santa sacks, as well as couch cushions designed from previous kits in the club’s history.

In what can be quite a stale market with extremely similar templates across the board, The Terrace has created something fresh.

The clubs they are in partnership with continue to benefit from these diverse product designs.

“Many of our fans will be familiar with The Terrace brand already and it’s great to be able to endorse a range of quality products with an official partnership,” said director of retail operations at Ipswich Town, Lee Hyde. “It’s a very exciting licensing partnership for both parties; one I can see growing quickly.”

The organisation’s plan is to further improve a sports retail industry that has stalled, by giving customers a larger array of options.

An in-house design team bring their nostalgic ideas to life through an exceptional eye for detail, which give fans the chance to reminisce about their sporting teams’ favourite moments through kit culture.

The Terrace operates a print on demand service for customers wanting to buy merchandise. As a result of this, there is no stock risk or potential for wasted investment.

The products provided, such as phone cases, blanket throws and towels are items club shops don’t invest heavily in or stock. This is therefore an attractive proposition for clubs to partner with the company, to help them fill a gap.

The Terrace director Carl Swell states: “The Terrace has become a successful and trusted retail platform for fans, but from the very start, Paul [co-director] and I have firmly stood by the principle that you can still earn a living whilst remaining loyal to your core values; those being that sport is a community, a passion, and a lifestyle.

“That’s why we proudly became a charity partner to CALM, the men’s suicide prevention charity, to help raise money through sales for such a worthy cause; sponsor grassroots football teams, from supplying kits to installing much-needed improvements at grounds; and sponsoring fan-led ventures as much as we can. As part of a community, we look after our customers because they look after us.”

This year the company aims to increase the volume of sales for the 20,000 unique visitors they have on a weekly basis. Faster delivery times are also a strong focus, refining the customer experience.

They hope to at least double their licensed portfolio by the second quarter of the year, opening the door to all sporting clubs that are interested. With the success they’ve had so far, it would be hard to believe they would be short of any suitors.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Vizrt: Graphic specialists for sports broadcast 

Vizrt are reliable providers of graphics and sports analysis technology, perfect for the media industry during their broadcast. 

Vizrt – short for Visualisation in Real-Time – are a Norwegian company who have created resources to enhance the delivery of sport production. They are a worldwide market leader across the areas of real-time 3D graphics, sports analysis and asset management tools to cater for sports media among others. 

Their specialty involves creating visuals to improve the overall feel of broadcast, including interactive & virtual solutions, animations, maps, weather, story and video editing, as well as compositing, multiplatform Video on Demand (VOD) and live playout tools. 

Vizrt’s philosophy is based on creating a new vision for content creation, management and delivery with an end-to-end solution from conception to multi-format distribution. The software and services designed by Vizet, coupled with ongoing innovation, aims to push the boundaries for what is possible and opens up new opportunities to tell stories. 

If we think about how that could be of use in a sporting context, Vizet have already proven themselves as partners for sports broadcasters and clubs, who can give better insights about what happens in a match or what it means, as well as previews and reviews. 

They have all the tools in sports graphics and analysis to provide greater excitement to the coverage of any sport. Audiences are treated to data-driven augmented reality graphics, advanced analysis, automation tools and quick editing of highlights to get them to fans first. 

As part of Vizrt’s sport production, they bring all the features required to get the very best out of the experience, whether that be at home, in the stands or in the locker room.

One of Vizrt’s Extended Reality solutions is XR – regarded as the world’s most powerful 3D sports analysis tool. In collaboration with Eleven Portugal, Vizrt linked up to deliver a new fan experience to Portuguese audiences. 

Eleven Portugal is the Lisbon-based part of multinational group Eleven Sports, who have sports television channels for sporting events. 

In Portugal, Eleven Sports own the rights to UEFA Champions League, La Liga Santander, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 Uber Eats, Jupiler Pro League, English Football League Championship, Scottish Premiership, Formula 1, F2, F3, Formula E, NASCAR, Porsche Super Cup, NFL, WTA 1000, ATP 250, Liga Endesa and more. The channel slogan is ‘By the Fans. For the Fans.’ 

Eleven Sports wanted to find ways of improving their sports coverage, with Vizrt chosen to lead the way with advanced graphics and new innovations. 

Vizrt’s XR Playbook brought a very powerful 3D analysis to TV programs – presenters were able to explain complex play by play match tactics in a clear and audience-friendly way. This adds more drama and suspense in shows and helps get the most from all sports by engaging the audience with unique insights and knowledge of strategy. 

As part of the collaboration, Vizrt committed towards offering training and guidance via their training and services teams. Deployed in Lisbon, they could educate Eleven Portugal’s editorial and production teams about how to get the most out of Vizrt’s software. 

Fans became immersed with tools for tracking player speed and movement, while the broadcaster makes great use of Virtual Stadium  an augmented reality set that gives a bird’s eye view of the venue. 

It’s this use of Vizrt’s multifaceted technology that can bring heightened significance to any sporting event. 

Vizrt has even helped out Esports broadcasters with their own productions, bringing the same high-quality graphics solutions for match previews and team presentations in particular. The rise and popularity of Esports has seen Vizrt transition their expertise to these events. 

Vizrt’s impressive portfolio of clients and partners include the world’s leading broadcasters, featuring CNN, CBS, Fox, BBC, Sky, ITN, ZDF, Star TV, Network 18, TV Today, CCTV, and NHK. Vizrt’s power of work extends further to many world-class production houses and corporate institutions – such as the New York and London Stock Exchanges – who go to Vizrt’s technology. 

Adaptable to any organisation and industry, Vizrt is able to deliver a whole range of benefits. To find out more on other features, you can view them here. 

Player sentiment up, average age down: PFA releases annual report

Sentiment is well and truly up for A-League players, according to the annual Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) report.

This time last year, only 33% of A-League players felt confident about the direction of their football careers.

According to the PFA’s latest annual report, that number is now 56%.

Of the A-League’s 312 players, 200 responded to the 2020/21 A-League survey, capturing 70% of the current cohort, with the results proving that even despite the ongoing turbulence and uncertainty of COVID-19, the majority of players feel much more confident about their futures within the game.

The report highlights that Australian players actively want to remain in the A-League, as opposed to seeking opportunities overseas.

The key numbers that demonstrate this include:

  • 55% of players said they would like to stay playing in the A-League next season, up from 45% last year.
  • 56% of players are confident about the direction of their football careers, compared to 33% in 2019/20.
  • Only 4% of players would move to an overseas league even if it was for similar money and/or playing standard.
  • Only 16% of players who would prefer to move to an overseas league would only do so if the money and standards were better.

Other highlights of the report include that the average A-League player is getting younger.

Over the last 14 years, the average age of the A-League player has consistently trended upwards.

In 2020/21, however, this changed and the average age trended downwards, dropping from 27.6 to 25.1.

The number of players utilised in the A-League who were aged 21 and under came in at 107, representing 35% of the 300 players who received A-League minutes during the 2020/21 season.

The youngest squads on average belonged to Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United, with average ages of 23.6 and 23.9 years respectively.

Another highlight was the fact that of the league’s 312 contracted players, 300 received A-League minutes.

“These reports have been immensely valuable, helping the PFA and the players better understand the industry in which they are employed, monitor the application of high-performance standards, assess technical progress and survey the players’ experience,” PFA Co-Chief Executive Beau Busch said of the report.

“For the last five years, we have been able to utilise these reports to formulate evidence-based positions to improve the environments in which our members work through collective bargaining.

“Promisingly, after a period of significant uncertainty, the players have indicated that they are more confident in the direction of their careers and the future of the competition than this time last year, signifying a positive shift in the perception of the A-League.”

The report also highlights the fact that A-League attendances were the lowest ever in the competition, thanks in large part to COVID-19, with an average attendance of 5,660.

Foreign players in the league reduced by 12 to a total of 51, whilst the average salary in the A-League is $136,791.

Access the full report HERE.

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