The Australian Ice Hockey League is a semi-professional league where many players still pay to play, so how do we get to a point where players can actually become cash positive?
Revenue streams are something the AIHL always have to be careful with, the risk of becoming a losing entity always an issue.
The whole issue is complex and there is no easy answer and every person has their own ideas so we only hope to raise awareness and open discussion.
Let’s look at some of the ways we can work towards cash positive playing and this first article in a series looks at Merchandise.
Merchandising is something clubs can make money from but it can be very hit and miss, some clubs do well where other clubs struggle.
Would it be an idea to bring all the clubs under one manufacture where there is a quicker turnaround?
The ability to be able to purchase a t-shirt, with club logo on the front with a player name and number on the back would surely sell well but they would need to made on demand as having them on the shelf is costly and again hit and miss.
Go to some sporting events overseas and they can heat press a name and number on your selected t-shirt in minutes.
Currently in Australia, the Newcastle Jets A-League soccer team, currently offer this service for jerseys even if there is a cost involved of $25.
A previous attempt with Majestic Athletic to have centralised merchandising, was not what you would call successful however the current model is not better.
The possibility of centralising merchandising means clubs don’t have the outlay cost to have volumes of stock on hand but clubs would possibly sacrifice a percentage of profit to have access to a larger range.
A look at the website for PHA Promotional shows no t-shirts or hoodies on sale however if you want a puck or phone case, you’re in luck.
The Sydney Bears made a big leap this year when the produced players pucks which looked great and could be signed by the player it’s self.
The CBR Brave may have got off to a slow start with merchandise but the current range looks fantastic and has a really strong brand presence.
Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce could be an organisation that can link up Canadian companies to the Australian public to offer sponsorship for teams or the league.
The ability of companies like Air Canada to sponsor the league and benefit from the exposure that the Fox “Game of the Week” provides could work for other companies too.
Could companies like Blackberry or Costco benefit from sponsoring the AIHL in some way?
Could companies subsidise merchandise by having their logo on the sleeve?
What’s your idea??