BLOG: Late surge serves up gold-medal Olympic merchandise sales

By Kelvyn Gardener

August 24th 2012 at 10:01AM
BLOG: Late surge serves up gold-medal Olympic merchandise sales

Is there an opportunity to shift more official merchandise post-Games?

Everyone leaves everything to the last minute these days, and Olympic merchandise is no exception, it seems.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, LOCOG reports sales at venues had lifted overall business by 75 per cent in the first week of the Olympics. Perhaps more so, UK retailers, bruised during that first week by low footfall, caused it appears by people taking too seriously’ the admonishments of London Mayor Boris Johnson to stay away from potential bottleneck areas, were back on track during week two.

According to reports in The Guardian, London retail footfall last week was 8 per cent up on 2011. John Lewis reported rapid sales of replica Team GB swimwear, whilst sports goods in general, especially all things connected to cycling, which was 35 per cent up at independent specialist Evans Cycles, received a major boost on the back of GB athletes’ success.

There was a healthy buzz at the merchandise stands at the volleyball venue where I was fortunate enough to have a ticket. LOCOG tells me, and I saw it for myself, that towelling wristbands, which of all the apparel are identical to those worn by the GB team, have been in high demand.

Athletics replica kit, from vests to tracksuits, is completely sold out in their Adidas limited edition, leaving eBay as the last port of call for frustrated shoppers.

However, it would be an interesting and potentially profitable move for licensees to consider a post-games range of medal-celebratory garments.

With the Royal Mail moving all the limited edition gold-medal winner commemorative stamps that it can print (when it’s not painting post boxes gold in the home towns of those medal winners), demand to have a physical memento of these memorable games would appear to be high. Very soon we’ll see the official DVDs, of course.

With both the opening and closing ceremonies boasting TV audiences of more than 26 million (an 82 per cent share on Sunday night) there must be more than a few households ready to part with more cash for a permanent souvenir of the BBC’s excellent coverage of a fantastic games.

George Michael’s mystery second song apart, Sunday night’s finale did, indeed, stick to what Britain does best, a mini-festival of some of the country’s most
successful and best-known pop and rock anthems, even finding room for humour once more in Eric Idle’s rendition of 'Always look on the Bright Side of Life'.

If the idea was to get the final crowd of the games singing, it worked a lot better than any national anthem or the Olympic hymn.