Connecting To Athletics and Shared Movement

February 27, 2024

“If you can shoot, you can shoot,” said Women’s NBA star Sabrina Ionescu, moments after a close 3-point shooting contest recently with NBA legend Stephen Curry. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy, I think it just matters the heart that you have and wanting to be the best you can be,” she concluded.

The match was the first of its kind in the NBA All-Star Weekend, recalling the Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs event and highlighting the moment women are having in sports and athletics right now. Deloitte projects that elite-level women’s sports is expected to make more than $1 Billion in annual revenue for the first time in 2024, exceeding their 2021 projection by 300%. Meanwhile, female athletes are inspiring fans around the world in pretty much every possible sport, from soccer to skateboarding to climbing. Women have more power in the world of athletics today than ever before.

Just look at our latest Olympic sport — breakdancing — set to make its Olympic event debut in Paris later this year. One of its rising stars in the United States is Sunny Choi, who quit her day job as a director of global creative at Estée Lauder and gave up its six-figure salary last year to devote all her energy to be a full-time professional B-girl, her eyes clearly set on fulfilling a lifelong dream of competing in the Olympics. By choosing this path, she’s turning her passion into a new viable career.

There are honestly more examples than we have space to name. From college basketball star Caitlyn Clark setting new NCAA records in Iowa and merch sales records across the country, to Olympic gymnast Simone Biles collaborating on new looks with Athleta, women are finding ways to connect their love for competitive sport with the simple joy of movement everywhere. They’re also unleashing their economic power like never before. “When girls open their wallets, economies roar.”

Redefining AthleticsWhat does all this mean for the promotional apparel business? Investing in the kind of gear women need to accomplish their athletic and team goals isn’t just a statement of female power and skill — it’s also great business for you.

Redefining Athletics

Nike has been making waves recently by expanding the meaning of sports and athletics to be “more inclusive and consider body, mind and life.” In listening to women, they’re in the process of evolving what they offer to support activities whose goals are movement, holistic fitness and wellness. This can include all kinds of competitive sports as well as the walking holiday in places like the High Road in Massachusetts or the Trans Bhutan Trail that invite long walks over a period of many days.

With this in mind, women and men alike are looking for clothing that enables and encourages movement of all kinds. Moisture-wicking travel pants and skorts or comfortable shorts are often an ideal fit here, a t-shirt with built-in UV protection can be a great option, and a moisture-wicking jacket or 1/4-zip is perfect for layering on cooler days.

Leaning Into Nostalgia

Leaning Into Nostalgia

For many, getting into sports and athletics comes with nostalgic memories of playing with friends, being part of a school team or even just witnessing a big play firsthand. As Kate Fagan writes in the New York Times, “nostalgia is a byproduct of shared history.” But for women, there’s an added dimension as well – being included and recognized in that shared history where they haven’t always been welcome. “The today of women’s sports is exceptional,” Fagan goes on. “It is most likely true, of course, that women’s sports have always felt exceptional to the women playing.”

When you lean into the nostalgia that many feel towards athletics, make sure that women can also share in that feeling with choices geared toward them. The fashion-inspired varsity look of the Halftime Notch Neck Tee or the Long Sleeve V-Neck Tee both capture this feeling, with companion styles for men that get everyone into the team spirit.

Organized Movement

Bringing Organizations Together Through Organized Movement

Team-building can also be about more than athletics. With a significant portion of the modern workforce choosing to work remotely, expressing the joy of movement can help companies keep their employees engaged and excited about where they work. Organized walk-a-thons, neighborhood trash pick-up groups, even a fun birthday surprise flash mob are all ways to bring a shared sense of community and purpose to a team of workers used to sitting at home.

You can help bring that team feeling to life for everyone with color-coordinated t-shirts and hoodies available for people of all sizes and shapes. The right clothes help ensure everyone feels welcome to take part — not only comfortable while participating in the activity, but also included and respected as an important part of the team.

Whether it’s on a professional sports team, a local athletic club or just a work group looking to do something active together, sharing the joy of movement can unify a team like little else. When you make sure women feel included in the options you have to offer, you’re making a decision that they’ll remember fondly – and you’re also opening up opportunities for a roaring business.

Next month, we’ll explore those vacations we talked about earlier and how the “Bleisure 2.0” movement is reshaping the ways we plan our time away. I hope to see you then!