The most diehard rugby fans will often show off their loyalties with a full kit and a household full of team logo-bearing paraphernalia, calmer fans will have a couple items, and sad indeed are those without any way to display their support! And they need them, because at the moment, showing up to a game just isn’t possible. Despite the beautiful weather on Sunday, the Christian Goumondie Stadium was dormant, as it is every day except for the occasional chilly Sarlat Rugby training session, a symbol of the difficulties faced by numerous rugby clubs across the country.
But, in the town of Sarlat, you can spot more signs of love for the rugby club than during the height of many a previous season. Face masks with the club’s eye catching blue and yellow logo are an increasingly common sight and, when it rains, distinctive blue umbrellas shield the Sarlardais from the damp. These bright spots of color in a dreary time are testament to the local Rugby team’s revamped efforts to increase the team brand’s outreach and connection with the community.
Sarlat Rugby picking up the ball and carries a tradition
This is not the first time the town’s rugby team has experimented with merchandise. As far back as the 70s, shortly after its historical ‘golden age’ the CAS (Club Athletique Sarladaise as it was known) had an initial product run. The idea was later picked up again in the 90s and early 2000s by enterprising locals, including a small stall held by volunteers during the games. Inspiring efforts, which Sarlat Rugby (as the team is rebranding itself in tandem with its aimed rise through the ranks) is aiming to emulate and build on.
Last year, the Sarlat Rugby team went into the season with bold plans, to win big and rise up to the next championship levels. This ambition has obviously been slowed by the pandemic’s interruption of the season, but the team’s energy has been channeled into other aspects of this renaissance, notably establishing their brand and bolstering community engagement. One piece of this puzzle is the launch of a series of well designed branded Sarlat Rugby products.
New product line has some early success
The Sarlat Rugby store originally launched online during the height of the second pandemic lockdown at the end of November last year. Offering both a wide selection of typical gear (jerseys, full kit, etc.) and a diverse set of alternative Sarlat Rugby products for the less sport-focused fans. Everyday items to be used around the home or office, like mugs, agenda’s or even a 2021 calendar. In winter they also added the cold weather gear needed by anyone up and out as early as the players! Warm hats and scarves… which, in an ordinary year, supporters might have waved at games. Now they can wear them around the town in anticipation of their return.
Putting their hearts into the project, Sarlat Rugby has also augmented the store with several promotions, ranging from basic sales on specific products or articles, all the way to a full fledged advent calendar giveaway for lucky and persistent visitors during the holiday season. Just in time for the holidays. Maybe some of those masks we’ve seen around town were hidden in stockings or unwrapped beside a tree this year?
Interestingly, a significant portion of the e-store’s clients are mobile users, suggesting that the store, and the accompanying Sarlat Rugby social media presence, is helping to reach a younger smartphone-friendly generation. This is another sign of the promising start! Tellingly, a few items already sold out from the online store—notably the Calendar—as players, partners and fans must all be counting down the days until Sarlat Rugby can return to the pitch!
Luckily however, thanks to a new set of partnerships, there are other places for fans to find Sarlat Rugby merchandise, including a few elusive copies of the 2021 calendar!
Community partners and partnerships strengthened in Sarlat with rugby store merchandise
Led by their outreach and sponsorship team, Sarlat Rugby has built new ties in the community as local shops and stores see an opportunity in the merchandise. Not only is featuring the Sarlat Rugby products a great way to show support for the team, but it’s also a way to capitalize on the town’s love of the team and sport. These partnerships are also one more way in which the team and town are bolstering each other in these difficult times! These partners are an integral part of the Sarlat Rugby story, and all deserve a big thank you!
From quaint corner stores selling a few items, to an entire shelf in the local sports equipment store, Sarlat Rugby merchandise is more visible and accessible than ever. Peppered throughout the town, customers can easily find and test the products for themselves, leading to increasing sales of cloth items like the scarves. Indeed, their success has led the team to consider a dedicated store in the much-traveled downtown for the upcoming summer tourist season. While such optimism is characteristic of the team and their renewed efforts, everyone is also taking full precautions to keep the pandemic at bay, if only to be able to start the season again sooner.
Perhaps that is why the single most sold item across all products is: the mask!