Although the modern world is often marked by division and societal differences, there remains a common tune that we all continue to dance to: sport.

Sport satisfies humanity’s primal need for competition, camaraderie, and excitement in a way little else can; and with hundreds of millions across the globe either watching or playing sport on a weekly basis, it’s little wonder we affectionately refer to it as ‘the world’s common currency’.

With immense popularity does indeed come immense opportunity, and we’ve seen over the years that sports and major sporting events worldwide can be hugely profitable. According to Statista, revenue from sports events globally reached $31.88 billion in 2023, with 300.3 million people in attendance watching the action unfold.

These figures are only forecast to go up over the next few years, too, including this year in 2024 with Europe braced for the likes of the UEFA European Football Championship in Germany and Summer Olympic Games in France.

However, it’s not only at and around the events themselves where revenue opportunities present themselves, as merchandise and other products during sporting events are very much in hot demand.

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For example, the England national football team broke records by reaching the final of the last European Football Championship in 2021, but they also broke records off the pitch in terms of shirt sales. With the country gripped by sporting fever, shirt sales peaked at a remarkable 1,000 sales per minute in the days leading up to the final – representing a 435% increase on previous days in the tournament and rather good news for kit manufacturer, Nike.

Retail giant Adidas, meanwhile, demonstrated that as well as team-specific merchandise sales increasing during major football events, neutral accessories and other equipment are also subject to rises. The company’s annual report in 2022 shows that ‘accessories and gear’ sales in 2022 jumped by 19% from the previous year, putting it down to an “increased demand in football driven by the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022”.

Ultimately it reinforces the enormous potential that major football events bring, not just in the form of merchandise but just about everything else surrounding the increased socialising that come with them. As host of the 2021 European Football Championship, the UK saw an estimated €3.5 billion injected by its citizens into alcohol, food, home entertainment, merchandise, and more.

Olympic-Sized Opportunities in Europe

The Summer Olympic Games follow a similar pattern to major football events, and with this year’s event in Paris representing the first Games in front of spectators since 2016 due to the Covid pandemic, there’s even more cause for excitement.

So what do retailers traditionally see before, during and after the two weeks of summer action? According to data from Jungle Scout, the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 saw sales of products from April – August 2021 using the keywords ‘Olympics 2021’ on Amazon alone increase by a staggering 202,684% year on year.

It comes as very little surprise, then, that the 2024 Games have been earmarked by companies as something to take full advantage of. Executives at Nike have said they’re spending more money on marketing in this year’s Olympics than any other previous edition, in the hopes that consumers continue to see it as “the epitome of sport” and purchase related goods.

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The same goes for many businesses around the world, but a business needs to get its logistics strategy right if it’s to reap the benefits this year

Firstly, inventory management is all important for taking advantage of major sporting events and understanding which stock will be the most popular as the weeks go by. Going back to the England football shirt example in 2021, certain retailers will have undoubtedly missed out on the purchasing pandemonium by not having the correct stock levels at the right time. Predicting when and where such demand comes from will be the task of market and trend research, historical event analysis and forecasting.

Then there’s strategic storage and being able to feed a hungry market at speed. Research from EconStor indicates that sports fans are extremely impulsive purchasers, and with major events ongoing, one single moment could determine whether a consumer buys goods or not.

So holding inventory at strategically positioned storage facilities that can serve eager customers quickly and efficiently can make a big difference, while leveraging last-mile delivery services could ensure speedy delivery that will heighten the chances of repeat business – as would having a favourable reverse logistics policy in place.

All in all, there are many pieces of the puzzle to consider when looking to take advantage of this year’s summer of sport, but it’s clear that there are vast opportunities for businesses across many different sectors.

Intelligent planning and perfecting your logistics strategy could well be the difference between taking the gold medal, or going home empty handed.















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