Having put its name on the team’s new building, Levi’s is now looking to dress fans of the San Francisco 49ers.
And it might be the start of a broader program to co-brand Levi’s with other professional franchises in football and other sports.
Levi Strauss & Co. last year paid $220 million for the naming rights to the 49ers’ new home in Santa Clara, Calif., and with the ribbon-cutting for Levi’s Stadium set for today, Levi’s has put the finishing touches on the Levi’s x 49ers Collection, a group of jackets based on the brand’s classic Trucker model introduced 52 years ago. The jackets, in denim and twill, have been modified to include the team’s logo in its distinct saloon font, lots of trim in the team’s colors of scarlet and gold and varsity coat touches such as satin sleeves and ribbed knit cuffs.
Levi’s x 49ers will be available in August at Levi’s stores in the Bay Area, on levi.com and at 49ers team stores at Levi’s Stadium and elsewhere.
For James Curleigh, president of the Levi’s brand, the investment in the stadium and nearly $100 million earmarked for advertising and promotion in the next few months, including the new “Live in Levi’s” advertising campaign, are illustrations of Levi’s determination to assert its leadership in global apparel and particularly in the denim market.
“When you watch a sporting event — virtually any game — people wear their team’s colors and they usually wear jeans on the bottom,” Curleigh told WWD. “The stadium really opened our eyes about ways to connect with fans. We’re not trying to compete in the athletic realm and take on the swooshes and the three stripes, but we are looking for ways to leverage our status as the unofficial brand of fans in stadiums around the world.”
Observant baseball fans are familiar with Levi’s relationship with its downtown San Francisco neighbors, the Giants. When a member of the team hits a home run over “Levi’s Landing” in right field and into San Francisco Bay, occupants of the Landing receive a $50 coupon that can be redeemed at a Levi’s store.
“If the arrangement with the 49ers works in year one, it could expand to other teams and other sports, and not just in the U.S.,” Curleigh said. “We’re already getting calls from our people in other regions asking what they can do to draw on this energy.”
Curleigh said the company is investigating similar opportunities for tie-ins in the music world.
Levi’s is working to outfit 49ers personnel, such as the Gold Rush Cheerleaders, in Levi’s merchandise, and fans wearing Levi’s to games will get free access to the Levi’s 501 Club, a loft bar area that can accommodate 2,400.
“We’re essentially telling people, ‘Wear Levi’s to the game and good things will happen,” Curleigh said.
Levi’s Stadium officially opens to the public with a soccer game between the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders on Aug. 2. The 49ers meet the Denver Broncos at home in a preseason game on Aug. 17 and play their first home game of the regular season against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 14.