A market worth billions: Sports Licensing & Merchandising
Global sales of licensed products totaled nearly $300 billion in 2019. 10 percent of this, or $30 billion, alone can be attributed to the sports sector. Licensed products range from textiles to sports equipment, toys, household items and food. But what is the appeal of articles in the colors of the favorite club for the fan? How do companies benefit from licenses from clubs and athletes? What do the teams themselves gain from sports licensing? And how can licenses and products be protected? We have the answers for you!
Sports Licensing & Merchandising – in this article you will learn:
- What exactly is sports licensing?
- Why do fans buy merchandise?
- What are the benefits of sports licensing?
- How does SCRIBOS help you protect your licenses?
Sports licences are one of the most important assets for generating revenue in the global licencing trade. Besides major US sports leagues such as the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), the main licensing campaigns include major sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the World Cup. The principle of sports licensing is as simple as it is ingenious: Sports clubs, teams or athletes grant companies the right to the commercial use of name rights and club colours – e.g. on fan merchandise – in exchange for a licence fee. The specific conditions governing, for example, the duration, format and financial details are set down in licences or cooperation agreements. There are no limits on how creative the merchandise can be, and quirky ideas abound, such as letterboxes in a football helmet design (NFL), toilet paper with a club logo (Bundesliga) and waffle irons that press the logo of the club into dough.
Everything a fan's heart could desire
An enthusiastic following is a psychological phenomenon at societal level. It fosters competition between teams within the fan group – Who can sing louder? Who cheers their team on more? – but it also primarily serves as a unifying element: As a member of a fan club or similar, the fan is part of a community that has the same interests and which shares an enthusiasm for the same club. To demonstrate this enthusiasm, i.e. belonging to “his or her club”, the fan buys the fan products licensed by the club.
In modern sports marketing, however, merchandising today is about much more than simply selling products tailored to fans. Instead, a kind of lifestyle is created for the fan: one which they can fully identify with and embrace by purchasing or using fan products.
Aiming high with sports licenses
Being a fan (from the Latin 'fanaticus': carried away by, a fanatic) is a very emotional matter. This is exactly the reason why it is worthwhile for clubs, associations and brand owners to link their products with a protagonist from the world of sport. For example, a fan would be much more willing to buy a higher priced item if it displayed the logo of their favourite team. At the same time, licensing enables licensees to benefit from the brand image – such as in the form of storytelling in marketing. The brand owners themselves, e.g. the teams and/or athletes, also benefit from licensing through the company’s reach and image.
Sports licensing with SCRIBOS
We have given you a short summary on our blog of how successful licensing can be. We also take a look at why a good licensing strategy always links analogue and digital measures to protect products and brands. One more thing: Together with our partner Dependable Solutions Inc. we offer a complete worry-free package for your licensing management – from security tags to brand protection and consumer engagement.