Giving the right gift can give you a friend for life. But finding the right gift is not always that easy. The organizers of the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games have an appealing selection for sports fans at a new retail pavilion. It is located at the center of celebration events in downtown Toronto, Nathan Phillips Square, the “Times Square” of Canada. This venue will attract thousands of visitors each day during the Pan American Games for music, fireworks and victory celebrations that show the personal side of the athletes who earn distinction at this year’s competitions.
The “pop-up” style retail outlet opened on July 1, Canada Day, and will be open through the end of the Para Pan Am Games on August 15. Called the “Toronto 2015 Superstore,” it shows a good case example of how to put the images created for a major international sports event on gifts and clothing to build excitement about the events and engage fans with the world’s most popular pastime – shopping.
Small gifts start at just four Canadian dollars (about US$ 3.30) for pencil sets. Enamel pins, popular with both sports fans and pin collectors, are available for C$ 8.00 each. The pins feature color pictograms for every sport played in the Pan American Games. These include sports like water skiing and baseball that are not currently Olympic sports and make the pins coveted by collectors who have to have it all. The sports pictograms for Toronto 2015 are probably the most colorful and energetic designed for any major sports event to date, so the gift items practically move off the shelves by themselves. The pictograms are also featured on T-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, magnets and adhesive stickers.
The Toronto “something for everyone” merchandising concept is particularly inclusive. There are sports pictogram tattoo stencils for fans who want to look 110% dedicated in the spectator stands. And there is also a line of pet clothing. Toronto 2015 Vice President of Sponsorship Sales and Partnership Services Rick Ramsbottom explained that the sales results from the Toronto 2015 online store have been useful for planning the kinds of specialty merchandise to stock at the Superstore outlet.
The clothing items are competitively priced between US$ 30 and US $50. By comparison, high-end sportswear from Ralph Lauren Polo starts at over US$ 100 for shirts sold at fashion outlets across the street from the Toronto 2015 pop-up store. There is also a selection of high end leather sports bags by Canadian luxury goods vendor “Roots” that sell for around US$ 425.
While Roots manufactures its leather sports bags, medal pouches and other gift items in Canada, the other gift item and clothing are manufactured in China. China is a huge supporter of international sports and youth sports education, but it is not one of the forty-one nations in the Pan American Sports Organization that have come together to make Toronto 2015 possible. This circumstance has not been controversial compared to the manufacture of 2012 US Olympic Team uniforms in China, following which manufacturing was moved back to the US in 2014. But adding more local products is a choice organizers of the next Pan American Games in 2019 in Lima, Peru will want to plan ahead for.