Written by Stuart McLennan
It’s a partnership that makes perfect sense. International merchandise retailer and Mascord Brownz joint founder Phill Browne has teamed up with Michael Carbone of Chasing Kangaroos podcast fame to launch a new venture, the Chasing Roos online store.
Carbone created the Chasing Kangaroos podcast in November 2018, indulging his passion for international rugby league and responding to rising interest in the game’s global development while Browne commenced his business during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup to promote and sell international merchandise.
“Selling international rugby league merchandise online was not something I considered until Phill approached me,” Carbone revealed to Everything Rugby League.
“Phill has great experience with his previous business, Mascord Brownz. He needed someone with marketing experience to help make this new venture bigger and better. It made sense. I suppose it was one of those ‘right place, right time’ moments.”
Browne, who previously set up ‘Australian Fijian Rugby League’ and has played in a test for the Fijian National team, took his lifelong passion for rugby league and the international game and turned it into a career. With Carbone he believes he has found someone to help take it to a new level.
“When Steve Mascord and I were winding up Mascord Brownz I thought to myself, who shares the same passion as me for International RL and growing the sport around the world, and who has a skillset that could complement my own to take the business to the next level. It was an easy decision for me after getting to know Carbs over the last 2 years. His digital marketing background and his ever growing podcast will be assets for our business.” Browne told Everything Rugby League.
Thanks to the reach of social media and increase in global participation there has been steady growth in interest for international rugby league. The business partners expect that upward trend to continue into the future.
“No doubt we are playing in a niche which is slowly growing. I have seen interest grow in the two years since I began the Chasing Kangaroos,” Carbone said.
“The trend should continue, how quickly depends on external factors like success of the 2021 World Cup, and strong competition for the Kangaroos and Jillaroos.”
Browne is enthusiastic about the future of the international game, pointing to personal experiences as being the catalyst for his business venture.
“In my 34 years involved in Rugby League, I’ve never seen interest in the International game so high. If someone said to me five years ago that Brazil would make the RLWC, I wouldn’t have believed them.
“In 2013, I was living in London and when the USA Tomahawks ‘shocked the world’ I wanted to jump on the bandwagon, buy a jersey and get to their quarter final vs Australia in Wales. I rang every sports store I knew and all had the same answer, sorry we don’t stock those jerseys. That’s what gave me the idea to start Mascord Brownz.
“My vision is that we will stock all nations in international rugby league so like minded people like me can purchase merch of their heritage or impress their friends at the gym or team mates at training with the most exotic rugby league kits out there. It grows the game by association. For example, I wore my Brazil shirt at the gym the other day and a guy came up to me and said, cool shirt. I didn’t even know that they played rugby league over there.”
The Chasing Roos founders are determined to ‘put back’ into the sport they love by sponsoring a developing rugby league nation and a grassroots junior club in what is likely to be an ongoing program.
“As a business we understand our brand and our potential market grows with the success of international rugby league,” Carbone offered.
“We believe giving exposure to nations and clubs outside of the NRL via Chasing Roos can benefit the game. We also understand many developing nations and clubs need financial assistance and so offering sponsorship is an important element of our business philosophy.
“We will be announcing our first International team sponsorship shortly. A difficult decision considering so many need help. Our first partner ticked all the boxes for us; strong organisation and marketing, a presence in Australia, and fast development for men, women and youth domestically.”
“We want to help grow rugby league at an international level and at a grassroots level. We need to give back to the community who help support us. I want our customers to know that by purchasing a product with us, not only will they be promoting international rugby league by wearing the merch around, part of their transaction will also go back into the game to help it grow,” Browne added.
Find Chasing Roos at www.chasingroos.com