The Ambassador Challenge


The Ambassador Challenge


By now we have received a number of great reviews covering different aspects of the soccer jerseys selected for reviewing. The reviews were written without the presence of any particular guidelines nor much editorial interference.

The results were great but to receive 6 similar reviews of similar types of products will not be entirely productive. So we now up the ante and challenge our ambassadors on their analytical capabilities and not least their creative thinking.

This is what we call The Ambassador Challenge.

Before we get to the challenge let’s try to provide some background info.

According to Sports Markt a German sports market consultancy soccer jerseys make up 53% of the total licensed sporting goods market. That is a big chunk of the total but at the same time it means that 47% of the total sales are not jerseys. Included in that second group are products like match wear (shorts & socks) , training wear (tops, track suits), leisure wear (tees, tops), merchandise (scarves, flags), equipment (bags), hardware (balls) etc.

While the jerseys sell themselves pretty much as being the physical representation of the club or the team par excellence it can pose a few challenges to actually market and sell the products from the other categories.

The traditional way of slicing it (with the goal of selling more) is by producing substitutes and complementary products while at the same time trying to segment according to different attributes. In the sales process “cross-sell” and “up-sell” features are prevalent mechanisms. But where does this take us exactly ?

Our point of departure has been the jersey. We have shipped out jerseys and in return received reviews of those jerseys. Most of the jerseys we sent out were customized. Customization features as an “upsell” in the world of soccer. Shorts and socks would typically be the predominant “cross-sell” products since together with the jersey they would make up an entire kit as seen on TV. For kids that might work well while for many adults shorts and socks are not complementary since grown-ups are not keen on imitating someone else down to the slightest detail rather adults prefer to create their own style by adding different elements from different sources.

Challenge Number 1:

Part 1:

For those ambassadors receiving a jersey customized (upsell version) and a plain jersey blank on the back what is strongest argument for making the upsell ? What makes the customer decide whether to add the customization (whether badges, player name or custom name) or whether to leave it blank ? How important is price in order to make this decision ? Is there a specific price point which acts as the decider ? What kind of value does badges / name & number kit bring to the jersey. Is design of the name and number set important or is it primarily about relating to the player ? Is the upsell easier to make than the cross-sell ? because the jersey is THE item where all the attention is focused etc.

Part 2:

The cross-sell. If you want to induce a shopper to add a second item to shopping cart assuming that the shopper has already added a jersey which products would you present to this individual ? And what would be their attributes ? Would it be the shorts and the socks to make up the full match kit ? Would it be a discounted jersey from last season to avoid paying full price for two products but functionally obtaining two full good jerseys ? Would it be an entirely different product type – like a piece of merchandise or a basic pair of branded Nike shorts with no club affiliation ? etc.

Challenge Number 2:

Product segmentation & substitution / complementary effects.

Nike works with a number of different short sleeve tops which can be ranked like this:

Authentic match jersey (900 DKK RRP)

Replica match jersey (600 DKK RRP)

Stadium match jersey (400 DKK RRP)

Pre-Match top (400 DKK RRP)

Training top (300 DKK RRP)

Cotton Tee (250 DKK RRP)

My best guess is that these products are substitutes rather than complementary products. That either you buy a training top or you buy a replica jersey. But you do not buy a training jersey for training, a pre-match top for warming up before a match, and a match jersey for playing a match. For the fan it is either or.

At mmsports we have had difficulties in getting any significant sales volume of the training wear products like the pre-match top, the training top, the cotton tee. The customers seem much more inclined to buy a previous season or even several seasons earlier jersey at the price points represented by the training wear s/s tops.

At the other end it is very difficult for the consumer to figure out what the difference / benefit is between the 3 different kinds of jerseys. Long sleeve – short sleeve seems to be a no-brainer though.

If a training top / pre-match top / fan tee / graphic tee etc. were to become a popular product for the fan what would it take ?

Different price point ?

Different product attributes ?

Different use among athletes or different marketing strategy ?

Or is it a dead end which should rather be dis-continued or limited to the point of obsolescence ?


So we have now posed two challenges to our ambassadors:

One relating to the jerseys

One relating to the jersey substitutes

Of course these questions might be answered quantitatively by looking at the numbers and all the data available but sometimes qualitative methodologies bring different insights and can provide out of the box information which the numbers cannot do.

So that is why we now bring you these 2 ambassador challenges which can be used to frame part of the review. The issues raised should not necessarily be answered point by point but it would be interesting if part of the thinking were to be included in the Sep / Oct reviews.


By the numbers. From the Nike Fall 2011 whole sale catalogue.

The Man Utd adult men’s range.


Away – 1 piece

Home – 1

Goal keeper L/S – 2 pieces

Long Sleeve away – 1

L/S home – 1

Total number of items including styles (meaning different colors of a product): 6

(had the authentic jersey and the stadium jersey also been available it would have been: 8-9)

Match kit:

Away sock – 1

Home socks – 2

Match shorts – 4

Total: 7

Training wear:

Training top – 2

Sleeve Less top – 1

Pre-match top – 3

Training top II – 2

Midlayer top L/S – 2

Rain jacket – 1

Longer short – 1

Pants – 1

Side line jacket – 2

Trainer jacket – 2

Authentic track jacket – 2

Total: 19

Short sleeve tops: 8

Long sleeve tops: 9

Bottoms: 2

Leisure wear:

Authentic tee – 2

Core tee – 2

Core polo – 2

Authentic polo – 3

Rugby shirt – 1

Core hoodie – 2

M65 jacket – 1

Best hoodie – 1

Best jacket – 1

Authentic hoody – 2

Caps – 2

Total: 19

Short sleeve tops: 9

Long sleeve tops: 8

Other: 2

All together: 51 Man Utd products (53 including authentic and stadium jerseys)

13 match kit products ( 26 % )

38 leisure and training wear products ( 74 % )


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MM Sports Global Ambassador Program

MM Sports Global Ambassador Program

(1 word) MM Sports is introducing a new initiative: the MM Sports Global Ambassador Program. In order for this program to succeed we need your help! We are looking to recruit 12-14 ambassadors to cover different themes within the sporting goods and merchandise industry of soccer. Each tenure will run for 6 months. Every month we will ship a new product to the Ambassador. Thus during the period of time that the ambassador is serving he or she will receive atleast 6 products from a given team that he or she covers free of charge! Shipping will be on us as well. The product will be shipped as gift or as sample in order to avoid import tax and duty.

In return for the free merchandise we will expect the ambassador to provide us with a well-written product review of the product received. A quality product review will be between 300 and 600 words long (or even longer if deemed beneficial) and may include photo and video material if deemed relevant.

The MM Sports Global Ambassador program is as the title indicates open to anyone anywhere across the globe. No geographical criteria is included in the selection process nor is any particular geography given any preference.

What is important to bear in mind is that the word “ambassador” has been carefully chosen and is of relevance in order get this to work. An ambassador in the sense of a diplomat is a representative who carries the load and responsibility of a whole country, including the state, the governement, the citizens of the country, companies – businesses etc. Therefore the ambassador has to  tread carefully and act in a “diplomatic” manner. By diplomatic we mean respectfully and tacitfully.

In the case of soccer there are a number of stakeholders involved in dealing with well-know international brands like Liverpool FC or Manchester United. The club itself, the massive fan base, the kit supplier, MM Sports, and everybody else involved one way or another with the beautiful game. (333 words).

Therefore the individual who is chosen as ambassador for instance the “MM Sports Liverpool Ambassador” has to be well-aware that there are certain ramifications related to the post. What is NOT the kind of review we are looking for is an outright rejection of a product, harsh critisism, extreme applause, unfair comparison or the like. What we ARE looking for is a balanced discussion with Pros and Cons but without any extreme judgements. Carefully chosen words which will not be polemic , while of course being truthful to one’s opinions and trying to bring about an objective statement with a personal touch reflecting one’s own beliefs. We do look for personality to shine through but not at the cost of fairness nor moderate use of language.

What we need are high quality,  well-written, and useful reviews for a wider audience.

The MM Sports Ambassador program takes off in August 2011 with the aim of covering the season 2011/12.

We currently hold just 1 ambassador post still open:

-UK ambassador. We are looking for An individual from the United Kingdom. The exact content of the position TBD. Meaning we are open to suggestions! OPEN!

-Real Madrid (code “RM ambassador”) TAKEN!

Please refer back to us in January 2012 if you are interested in covering Real Madrid.

-FC Barcelona (code “Barca ambassador”) TAKEN!

Please refer back to us in January 2012 if you are interested in covering FC Barcelona.

-Valencia CF (VCF ambassador) TAKEN!

Please refer back to us in January 2012 if you are interested in covering Valencia.

-Manchester United (MU ambassador) TAKEN!

Please refer back to us in January 2012 if you are interested in covering Man United.

-Liverpool FC (LFC ambassador) TAKEN!

Please refer back to us in January 2012 if you are interested in covering Liverpool.

-Arsenal (AFC ambassador) TAKEN!

Please refer back to us in January 2012 if you are interested in covering Arsenal.

-Chelsea FC (CFC ambassador) TAKEN!

Please refer back to us in January 2012 if you are interested in covering Chelsea.

-Inter Milan (Inter ambassador) TAKEN!

 Please refer back to us in January 2012 if you are interested in covering Inter.

 -AC Milan (ACM ambassador) TAKEN!

Please refer back to us in January 2012 if you are interested in covering AC Milan.

-FC Bayern Munich (FCB ambasador) [not to be confused with Barcelona which carries the tag “Barca”] TAKEN!

Please refer back to us in January 2012 if you are interested in covering FC Bayern.

-Joker (Joker ambassador) [you will get different jerseys from different clubs] /there might be more than 1 joker appointed/.

Joker 1: TAKEN!

Joker 2: TAKEN!

Joker 3: TAKEN!


If you would like to become the new MM Sports Global Ambassador – first crop starting in August 2011 – what you need to do is the following:

send us an email at:

In the title line write the ambassador program you are interested in covering, using the code indicated in parentheses for instance: CFC Ambassador.

In order for the application to be accepted you need to provide us with full contact details so we can get in touch with you and so that we would be able to send you the merchandise at a valid postal address.

And yes this information will be kept private and will not be used for any other purpose. Unsuccessful applications will not be used at all.

A short and concise text making your statement basically answering the question: why should we pick you ?

Please bear in mind that what is important is not whether you know a lot about soccer or whether you have a huge collection of merchandise already, or whether you perform well on the pitch. What is important is your ability to craft a well-written text which can be of use to a wider audience with an interest in the industry at large or a product in particular.

There is no deadline for applications. As soon as we find someone useful for the job this individual will be tapped and get started immediately.

All announcements related to this project will be released on Twitter:

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 You can also follow the Twitter updates on our website in this feed:

Twitter feed by MM Sports


The reviews will get published on our blog, product detail page or in other media where we would find it useful to bring them.


-MM Sports reserves the right to edit , reject , change , and re-edit a review before and after publication.

-All reviews will be reviewed before publication to ensure quality.

-MM Sports’ decides exclusively which products will be sent to the ambassador. No complaints about product choice will be accepted. If the ambassador is asked to review a pair of shorts while the individual would much rather see a long sleeve jersey landing in his mailbox then there is nothing to do about it. Since jerseys is the primary fcous there will be one or more jerseys involved in a 6 months package but it is important to stress the point that this it is not the ambassador’s job to pick the product for review. Questions such as size and maybe choice of player if a jersey is to be printed will be brought up though.

-The agreement can be brought to an immediate end in case the ambassador does not fulfill his or her obligations: Does not comply with agreed deadlines, does not provide well-written and to the point reviews, uses a language or
a tone unsuitable for publishing in the public sphere.

-We do reserve us the right to publish snippets of applications (without naming of names) in order to show potential suitors what the successful application looks like.