September 8, 2011, 11:03 AM

University of Montana teams up with TeamFanShop for online content

Fans can now shop for Grizzly items on a revamped TheGrizStore.com.

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To better display hundreds of licensed apparel, tailgating accessories and other items online, the University of Montana has teamed up with TeamFanShop Inc. to power its e-commerce site at TheGrizStore.com.

And, while the Grizzlies battle to win athletic games on the field and on the courts, the university’s online store can do its part to offer more licensed Grizzly merchandise on the web than anyone else, its merchandise manager says.

“Not only is the storefront fully revamped, but the selection of Montana gear is the largest among any online sports retailer,” says Nick Garner, general manager of Grizzly Sports Properties, a division of Learfield Sports, a company that helps universities with marketing and merchandising programs.

Among the content presentation features TeamFanShop provides are multiple ways to view products on category pages, including the ability to mouse over product images to see the name of the product, such as “Montana Grizzlies Maroon Blitz Fleece Pants.”

On product pages consumers can zoom in on images for detailed views. “It’s important for us to show different characteristics of each item, so we can properly set customer expectations,” says Brian Swallow, vice president of sales and marketing for Fanatics LLC, of which TeamFanShop is a subsidiary. A/B tests have shown the imaging to produce higher conversion rates, he adds, declining to offer more specific performance metrics.

TeamFanShop provides fully managed e-commerce sites, including inventory management and fulfillment, on behalf of university and professional sports teams. Other organizations to recently engage TeamFanShop include Penn State University, Clemson University, Brown University and a group of Ivy League universities including Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.

TeamFanShop also operates e-commerce sites for professional sports teams and leagues, including Major League Baseball’s MLB.com and the National Football League’s NFL.com. MLB.com/shop is No. 119 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide; NFLShop.com is No. 307. Among TeamFanShop’s newest clients among individual pro teams is the San Francisco 49ers, whose licensed merchandise is sold at Shop49ers.com.

Fanatics, which also operates its own retail sites including Fanatics.com and FootballFanatics.com, is a unit of NRG Holdings Inc. NRG was founded by Michael Rubin, the founder and former CEO of e-commerce and online marketing technology and services provider GSI Commerce Corp., after GSI was acquired earlier this year by eBay Inc. As part of the eBay deal, GSI’s Fanatics, ShopRunner shipping service and online retailer Rue La La were separated into NRG Holdings. EBay has retained a 30% ownership stake in Rue La La and ShopRunner. Re La La is No. 82 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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