Soccer Brand Spotlight 👀  👀  CYRK  👀  👀

Soccer Brand Spotlight 👀 👀 CYRK 👀 👀

Since moving to the US I started to come across ‘soccer’ brands that I’d never heard of before. Of course, as a footy nut I was well versed in the usual manufacturers & even some of the more niche brands that by now might faded from view. But these were new to me so I wanted to delve deeper. It turns out that many came about when the USA were awarded the 1994 World Cup in 1988. Companies with no prior soccer output suddenly started pumping out designs, the good the bad & the random.


Here we will look into some of these soccer brands….


First up is CYRK which was once one of the largest promotions companies in the world with employees worldwide & its stock successfully listed & much coveted on NASDAQ -  before a Monopoly game caused its downfall….

Cyrk, established in 1976 in Gloucester, Massachusetts was not your usual soccer t-shirt brand. Founded by Gregory P. Shlopek, a marine biology professor who was teaching at a small community college in Philadelphia had read an article in a the business section of a newspaper that described the print-screen industry as recession-proof. Having had an interest in graphic design since he was a teenager, Shlopek decided to test his design skills & entrepreneurial spirit & leave his teaching position. 1976 was also the year that Nike a fairly new athletic company had launched its first advertising campaign. Influenced by this, Shlopek was after a similarly short catchy name and settled on Cyrk, which translates to ‘Circus’ in Polish. (I’m sure it all made sense at the time!)


Cyrk had come about at the perfect time. In the mid 70’s, the American way of dressing had become more & more casual & athletic with adults and even seniors wearing the once rebellious T-shirt. The classic Tee was soon to be emblazoned with slogans, sports teams & city names - the modest items sales rocketed as popularity increased.

When a recession hit in the 80’s, the company diversified to produce marketing programs & promotional fashion items for bluechip companies such as Marlboro, Pepsi & Philip Morris. Building on it’s continued success Cyrk merged with the global promotion agency Simon Marketing Inc in 1997, who counted McDonalds as one of their premier clients - it’s Simon Marketing we have to thank for the introduction of the Happy Meal!


By 1999 McDonald’s accounted for 61% of the companies revenue & this enormous reliance on one client proved disastrous….


Running since 1987, McDonalds ‘Monopoly’ sales promotions were hugely popular, based upon the board game giving customers a chance to win burgers, gifts & money. But in 2001, a Simon Marketing security officer was arrested & it came to light that the game had been rigged. The racket even involving the legendary Colombo crime family. This scandal left Cyrk in a perilous position with clients deserting in droves. A sale in 2003 would prove unsuccessful in regaining momentum & Cyrk was finally liquidated in 2009.

But let’s remember the good times! Cyrk created some of the most eye catching slogan soccer tees during there golden days. Joining Cyrk in 1993, ex-pro soccer player Anton Nistl became Director of Sales & would oversee the choice of designs. Nistl’s unique insight within the world of soccer could be felt in the designs which at their best utilized on-field trash talk as graphic inspiration.


CLICK HERE! To see the Cyrk tee's we have for sale!




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