Describe the product or service your business provides and a description of the market it serves

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A number of football clubs (such as Manchester United, FCB Barcelona) in Europe make enormous amount of money through merchandizing. Apart from club’s official products, goods such as jerseys, hats, watches, bags, mugs etc. can also be brought at specialist sports shops in Europe. Despite a late start, Soccer has been growing its popularity in US In the past few decades. America’s better than expected international performance in the recent FIFA World Cup has lifted people’s interest in the sport. My business idea is to develop a chain of specialist sports shops deal in soccer merchandize and sports equipment. The following write-up describes the business idea in detail in terms of the overall market, anticipated growth and competition, products description and marketing plan. Soccer Market in US Over the last few decades, professional and amateur soccer has made noteworthy strides in the US. As of 2007, there were 14 million soccer players and over 2 million households having young soccer participants in the country. The following graph shows the comparison of sports popularity in different age groups implying that it is a youth-centered sport in America. Because of this, soccer has attracted the attention of advertisers from companies such as Starbucks, Addidas, Nike and other youth oriented products. Major League Soccer (MLS) and US Soccer Leagues are the two best known soccer leagues in US with over 16 member Clubs. Soccer in US gained more recognition with the arrival of foreign football stars such as David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg and Cuauhtemoc Blanco playing for MLS clubs. The richest club in US, LA Galaxy is worth $100 million (2008). As the game has gained such wide acceptance in US, it is a great market for merchandizing business adopting the European model. Business Idea The concept behind my business idea is to build a specialist soccer outlet selling all products and goods related to soccer including soccer gear, equipment and related goods. Soccer Merchandise Products: The following chart gives an overview of the products that would be sold at my Soccer Specialty Store (SSS) for various clubs and leagues: Distribution Channels: In the business of sports retail, it is essential to have and efficient supplier chain and distribution channel in order to make profits. As there are number of players in the supplier chain such as team/club or league dealers or distributors, my competitive advantage will be retail locations and outreach to customers. Apart from consumer retail store, online distribution channels would help reduce inventory and administrative expenses. Marketing: The success of consumer retail sales depends on a number of factors such as retail store location, prices, promotions and consumer demand. My retail stores location will be vicinity to major universities and schools, preferably with high number of international students (as soccer is more popular abroad). The prices of the products would be competitive to other stores such as addidas etc. Personalized items would be higher priced. Since, I am targeting students and their parents as my potential customers, promotional activities such as free passes to soccer matches, group or team discounts would be given. Competition: The competition in US in the soccer merchandising industry is not intense as in Europe but is developing. Major League Soccer