We produce merchandise depending on consumer insight: Siddharth Chury, NBA India

Chury, Associate Vice President of Global Partnerships, NBA India, gives us an insight into the newly launched NBA fan-based apparel in partnership with Suditi Industries

NBA fan wear apparel

The National Basketball Association (NBA) India has partnered with Suditi Industries Ltd to launch a range of NBA fanwear apparel. The NBA fanwear apparel will feature an exclusive range of NBA merchandise available in India, including an assortment of dedicated youth and adult products from all 30 NBA teams. The newly launched fan based merchandise will have exclusive products for women too. The NBA has a record of broadcasting 14 games per week on the Sony Six channel. The growth of NBA fans in India is at an all-time high.

exchange4media chatted with Siddharth Chury, Associate Vice President of Global Partnerships, NBA India about the launch and his plans going forward. 

What was the insight given to you that made you want to launch the NBA fanbase merchandise in India? 
With everything that we do, consumer insight is at the core. On the apparel front specifically, at the core are the sporty consumers those that are looking for performance products to play basketball. These consumers are serviced through the NBA’s partnerships with Nike. Over the years we got insight that a lot of the youth consumers were asking for a wider variety of casual, affordable products to wear. That was what led to the creation of the NBA fanwear apparel and sneakers. We realised that there are 17 million plus NBA fans in India right now. There was a time where we only had products of few elite brands. NBA fans used to save up all year and end up buying that one jersey or pair of shoes. We decided why not give the young fans a product where they can buy multiple pieces. The third pillar is the on-trend fashion-forward consumers in India, they look at the NBA as a lifestyle and youth culture brand because NBA transcends well beyond the sport. That is why we partnered with Jack and Jones where we said this is the NBA merchandise, with the logos, there are certain guidelines but now you interpret the NBA in the best form that your consumer would like to consume it. Jack and Jones came out with denim shirts, baseball caps and so on which is very different from what Nike does because that was relevant for their consumers. Depending on consumer insight we produce merchandise, license our products and decide our partnerships. 

Partnership with Suditi Industries 
While looking into the NBA fanwear production which is a wide range of merchandise at an affordable price. We needed a licencing partner that is comfortable and has experience in dealing with this type of merchandise. The partner has to have the power to churn out multiple designs on a regular basis, do smaller order quantities but offers a large variety for the consumer and that’s the factor that Suditi poses. While Suditi started off as an exporter of apparel years ago, over the past few years it has emerged as a very strong player in the licencing and IP space. They have built up good relations with retailers in the country. We have our products placed in Shoppers Stop, we will soon be launching in Lifestyle, Central and Brand Factory. By the end of this year, we will have more than 200 points of sale from just the premium retailers all thanks to this trade that Suditi has built over the years. 

Advertising the merchandise 
Social media is very important to us. The entire NBA fanbase in India is quite young and obviously, these fans are active on social and digital platforms. In terms of promotion, we find that with social media the reach is more effective. Hence the engagement is much higher than other platforms. We have got 12 million and counting fans on social media. They are already fans so the affinity for anything in regards to the NBA will be very high. In addition, we can consciously reach specific fans based on the basis of their age, geography, team and player preference. We did an apparel merchandise launch event at Shoppers Stop, Malad, Mumbai for which we ran a social campaign for two days right up till the event. We narrowed it down to a specific area and the turnout was great. Social media helps us to get direct feedback from our fans. That helps us fine tune our direction for the future. For NBA fan based apparel too, we will be launching a social media campaign. We are waiting for the creatives to get churned out for that. 

Any future plans going forward?
In the apparel space, there are still products to be launched come winter time we’ll be launching sweatshirts, jackets and pants. We are already active in headwear, socks and watches with Tissot. If we see the demand increasing for any category for a different consumer group we will put together a partnership and launch a collection that suits them. Our licencing also covers other categories like gaming, we are running a successful fantasy game with Dream11, as well as console and mobile games in India. Our aim is to produce as many touchpoints as we can for consumers to engage with the NBA. 

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