Elite Pro Sports' Mike Atkin on Eagles partnership
Elite Pro Sports (EPS) Head of Operations, and Sheffield Eagles fan, Mike Atkin has spoken with the club regarding the first year of the merchandise partnership.
Atkin previously worked with the club when he was a Kukri employee and that is where he struck up a professional relationship with Eagles Director of Rugby Mark Aston.
Atkin remembers Aston’s enthusiasm for kit designs, often coming to the Kukri head office to discuss potential plans.
“I have known Tubby for a while and also been around the club as a fan,” he said.
“In 2007, I started at Kukri and they supplied Sheffield at the time.
“I was there for two or three years and that was around the time Misi and QLT came to the club.
“At the time, the Eagles were at Don Valley and I was working with Tubby and Dave Butler.
“Tubby is quite hands-on with the designs and it was an interesting time for the club, as the Academy structure was in the planning phase.
“He used to come along to the head office in Preston to join in with some kit design sessions and thrash out options.”
Now at EPS, Atkin is delighted to be back working alongside the club he supports.
"I have moved in the industry a few times and I joined Elite Pro Sports around three years ago, when they were XBlades,” he added.
“Liam got in touch as they were looking for the next step.
"I think the club’s relationship with Doncaster Knights certainly helped as we have got a shop down there.
“On the back of Liam getting in contact - Tubby, Liam and myself sat around a table and got things sorted.”
Atkin has been thrilled with the feedback from the Eagles fans after its release of a home and away kit as well as other merchandise.
“The way we work, which is heavily retail-based, I think helps the Eagles and we’re not taking all the credit,” Atkin said.
“The club has the ambition to do it and we have tried to guide them into what will sell.
“We’re only in year one, and we expect hiccups along the way, but it’s been relatively plain sailing so far.
“One of the things we wanted to do is develop a shirt and release it pre-Christmas and we managed to release two.
“We have been dropping the range as we have gone along which has been on purpose.
“We don’t want to release everything all at once and we wanted to see what the buying habits are with the fans, as we had no previous data with the club.
“The plain black range was a test-bed and the sales on the red hoodies and polos has gone well too.
“We’ll look to keep growing the range.”
By Dan Fowler