Barret O’Brien did not start out in the rugby apparel industry nor was it ever a business plan. As the owner of a small printing and apparel company, Custom Printing Services, he was producing print and apparel for the Glendale Police Department during Infinity Park and the Glendale Raptor’s resurrection. When asked to begin producing the rugby kits, equipment and merchandise for the Raptors, Barret recognized and quickly seized a tremendous opportunity. In 2008 he created O’Brien Rugby, and signed on to be the Official Merchandise and Apparel Sponsor of Infinity Park and the Glendale Raptors. Five years later he continues to supply each Glendale Rugby program with all things apparel.
“My sponsorship continues to be great exposure for my business,” Barret stated. “With rugby players, coaches and fans coming to Infinity Park from all over the world, our presence in the stadium provides a constant brand reminder.”
Running the Shopping Maul at every home match certainly has its advantages. Not only do traveling teams see the products O’Brien Rugby provides, but the shop also creates opportunities for the business as a whole. Barret’s company now sells the one-off apparel for special matches and tournaments such as the National Small College Rugby Organization Championships, Men’s Club National Championships, and the upcoming International tournaments, the Women’s Nations Cup and Serevi RugbyTown Sevens Tournament. “We’re honored to be one of the few retail outlets for the Serevi brand of products,” Barret explained. “They have such strong name recognition in the industry, and our partnership with them legitimizes us as a brand in the rugby market.”
Throughout his journey with Infinity Park, Barret has watched the rugby program develop along with his business. “I’ve been with the Raptors since the beginning,” he stated. “The City has always been supportive of those who have believed in the team and supportive of local business; both of which O’Brien Rugby is.” Barret, through his company, has had the opportunity to watch the Raptors develop into the prominent team they are today. With that, O’Brien Rugby has been a part of Infinity Park’s growing presence in the greater Denver community. “I feel fortunate enough as a sponsor to have watched the development of the stadium from the start, the team and the prominence of rugby. The attendance has steadily increased, as has the quality of play, not to mention the significant growth of exposure on an international level,” Barret explained.
While Barret enjoys his opportunities with the Raptors, other teams and fans, he has enjoyed most the continual opportunities the sponsorship with the Youth Rugby Program brings to his business. “O’Brien Rugby is a great company to work with,” Youth Rugby Coordinator Jenna Anderson stated. “Barret’s customer service and loyalty to the program is superior. Because he is engaged with the city and rugby, he cares about the growth of the sport, and helps me with all the program apparel and equipment needs.”
The sponsorship makes O’Brien Rugby solely responsible for all youth rugby apparel from After School Program t-shirts to Girls High School team kits. Barret continues to be proud and impressed with the growth of the youth rugby programs, and he recognizes that involvement with the program is excellent for the company. “Youth is the key to growing any sport in this country and Glendale Youth Rugby is helping spread the enthusiasm and camaraderie that is so closely associated with the sport,” Barret said.
He continued, “With the groundbreaking of the Glendale Riverwalk scheduled for 2014 and the discussion of professional rugby in the air, the possibilities for O’Brien rugby are endless. As Glendale and the game of rugby continue to grow so does O’Brien Rugby, and I am excited about where the future will take us!”