New sports team generating buzz and creating interest in team merchandise
These are heady times for Halifax as a sports market.
The Mooseheads remain the city's most popular sports brand while the Hurricanes are also building a strong foundation of fan support.
A possible CFL expansion franchise could arrive by 2020-21 has generated a lot of buzz, while two sure things are also generating some excitement.
A professional lacrosse team will begin play in December and the Halifax Wanderers football club, a new professional soccer franchise, will play at a pop-up stadium starting in the spring.
“It seems like we have a lot of soccer fans and they're really anticipating the games starting,” said Lucy MacLeod, the manager of New Scotland Clothing Co. in Dartmouth.
This clothing store began selling Wanderers merchandise before Christmas.
Given the team hadn't played a game yet, they didn't know what to expect.
“People were really excited,” MacLeod said.
Within hours, they knew they had tapped into something profitable.
“We were getting a dozen calls a day, asking when it would be in store,” she said.
Sports fan Hunter Glidden says if there are several new teams to cheer for in Halifax, he's all in.
“I find it's a good way to meet people with shared interests,” said Glidden.
In the past Glidden has worn sports merchandise to help support teams and to be part of a shared fan experience that brings people together.
“I always wore my soccer jersey and I had a bunch of other people that I met that wore soccer jerseys and we'd talk,” Glidden says.
For the owner of the Wanderers, it's music to his ears.
“Hearing that kind of story is exactly what draws us to get in involved in the sport and entertainment space,” said Derek Martin.
Martin says fans are not only excited, they're also spending money -- lots of it.
His team has sold 3,000 season tickets and he's seeing Wanderers merchandise everywhere.
“People are just excited to put our logo on their chest which is a really great feeling,” he said.
The Wanderers aren't alone with their merchandising strategy.
The Atlantic Schooners are now selling hats, hoodies and T-shirts online.
And the professional lacrosse franchise hopes to do the same when the team name is announced next month.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Paul Hollingsworth.