ExclusiveMerchandising: "Derivative products, one of the only links with clubs during Covid" (G. Valéry, M2A)

News Tank Football - Paris - Interview #186787 - Published on 29/06/20 at 09:50 -
©  Guillaume Perret/M2A
Geoffroy Valéry - ©  Guillaume Perret/M2A

"Our activity has experienced a historic slowdown due to the absence of sports spectacles (due to the Covid-19 crisis). During this period, some online club shops did not stop operating. Derivative products were one of the only links with clubs during this period," said Geoffroy Valéry, president of M2A, an agency specialised in sports merchandising, to News Tank Football on 24/06/2020.

"M2A develops product ranges for retail, hospitality and stand entertainment. The club creates the show and the emotion with its event. We strengthen the marketing link with the fans via derivative products. We are designers and developers of tailor-made merchandising products," continued the head of the agency who signed an official licensing agreement with RC Lens (promoted to the Ligue 1 Uber Eats for the 2020-21 season) granting the GMS merchandising distribution rights (for large or medium-sized retail outlets such as supermarkets and hypermarkets) until June 2021, on 15/06/2020.

"The share of eshop (online store) revenue obtained via digital has changed significantly in recent years. The means implemented by the clubs have become more substantial (website development, logistics, CRM Customer Relationship Management ). Online stores can now account for 25-35% or even more of the merchandising turnover of certain clubs," explained Valéry.

"I'm not sure that new distribution networks will be invented any time soon. In our recommendations to the clubs, it will rather be a question of multiplying the distribution outlets. The 'market place' distribution channels such as Amazon (e-commerce) have not yet been adopted by many clubs for fear of losing control of their image and their margins," added the president of M2A, who answered questions from News Tank Football.


You have just announced a first licensing agreement with RC Lens (Ligue 1 Uber Eats). How is your relationship with the club evolving?

M2A has been at the service of clubs for the past 20 years for which we have developed product ranges for retail, hospitality and stand entertainment. The club creates the show and the emotion with its event. We strengthen the marketing link with the fans via derivative products. We are designers and developers of tailor-made merchandising products

This new agreement with RC Lens (Ligue 1 Uber Eats Customer Relationship Management ) integrates a distribution contract and strengthens our partnership with the club. Expanding our offer for our customers is the logical continuation of these 20 years spent with stakeholders in professional sports.

How will the distribution of RC Lens products change in 2020-21 with M2A?

After more than 10 years spent at their service to develop product ranges, together we addressed the subject of distribution for the 2019-20 season. Today, the club distributes its merchandising products via its shop and its "e-shop" (online shop). Thanks to this agreement, we are now going to create, for the 2020-21 season (in the Ligue 1 Uber Eats Customer Relationship Management ), specific ranges for the GSA network (grande surface alimentaire/food superstores), service stations and tobacconists. We will thus develop a new distribution network for the RC Lens brand in order to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

You are partners of the majority of French rugby and football clubs, all of which are competitors?

Our teams work for all the clubs that initially need to have ranges of essential product groups for their fans. We reinvent ourselves for each club according to its audience, its particularities and its history. We've always tried to work with discretion and humility, whether it's for a regional club or for UEFA, which gives us credibility within the industry in terms of both product quality and support.

In addition, M2A's expertise for more than 20 years in the development of textile ranges (technical and life style) has enabled us and will enable us to offer clubs the opportunity to replace equipment manufacturers as their own brand.

How has Covid-19 impacted your business? Is it possible to say that merchandising has been strengthened?

Our activity has experienced a historic slowdown due to the absence of sports spectacles (due to the Covid-19 crisis). During this period, some online club shops did not stop operating. Derivative products were one of the only links with clubs during this period. For the past three weeks, we have been accompanying our customers in the revival of their merchandising activity.

Have you witnessed the emergence of new sales channels for merchandising?

I'm not sure that new distribution networks will be invented any time soon. In our recommendations to the clubs, it will rather be a question of multiplying the distribution outlets. The "market place" distribution channels such as Amazon (e-commerce) have not yet been adopted by many clubs for fear of losing control of their image and their margins

Marketing development is largely geared towards digital. Isn't it contradictory to focus on merchandising and reality rather than following the trend towards dematerialisation?

Digitalisation now has its place in club sales via the online shop. The share of e-shop (online store) revenue obtained via digital has changed significantly in recent years. The means implemented by the clubs have become more substantial (website development, logistics, CRM Customer Relationship Management ). Online stores can now account for 25-35% or even more of the merchandising turnover of certain clubs.

From now on, clubs will have to animate the three essential distribution channels: the club store, the e-shop and external distribution.

Can we imagine a digitised derivative product, in the cloud, or via blockchain?

While eSports allows us to become part of the game through the acquisition of virtual elements (avatars, items, etc.), fans will always need to show their attachment to a team, game or player through a real derivative product. It is this know-how that allows us to work with great eSports teams (Fnatic, Team Vitality, OG, etc.).