Sports licensing includes licensing of symbols, logos, names of players and names of varied sport organizations. The sports body is known as licensor whereas company leasing rights is known as licensee. In particular, licensor selects licensee that helps to enhance the brand image of sports organization and teams. Expenditure on sports merchandise determines the wide polarization of buying habits, with retail and entertainment at one end and e-commerce at the other. Today, consumers are increasingly spending on sport leisure at high end malls and departmental stores. Hence, sports organizations are seeing phenomenal rise in merchandise transactions.
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Licensed sports merchandise is sold through entire range of retail which includes super markets, drug stores, departmental stores, specialty stores and online stores. Merchandising enables efficient engagement with fans who cannot attend matches, thereby helping to monetize sports brands. For example, Nike permits customers customize their trainers by sharing their designs and opinions with friends in person and online. This helps Nike to understand the needs of its customers and ensure that they come back.
Despite the recent troubled economy, sports industry continued to thrive. Licensed sports merchandise is driven by popularity of college and university level sports team. Additionally, the convergence of entertainment as sports is raising the usage of social media. Growth in licensed sports merchandise market is closely linked with consumer spending patterns. When sports team and fans are considered, identification with the team have greatest importance in purchasing licensed merchandise. Today, fans purchase licensed sports merchandise because they feel like they are part of the team. Additionally, a good design of store where licensed merchandise is implemented can help to create an increasing effect on purchase rate. The major challenge for licensed sports merchandise market is increasing pressure to grow sports merchandise in international market while maintaining the integrity of competition and local support base. They key trends driving the licensed sports merchandising include proliferation of digital origin properties, alternative deal structures and decline in licensing contracts.
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The key major restraint for licensed sports merchandise market includes high entry barriers such as procuring licensing rights and sustaining brand identity. Additionally, availability of duplicate products and consolidation of retail business is acting as key restraint for licensed sports merchandise market.
Various product category of licensed sports merchandise includes gifts and novelty, stationery and paper, food and beverage, apparels, accessories and footwear, and games among others. Geographically, North America leads the licensed sports merchandise market. In U.S. sports licensing is dominated by Major League Soccer (MLS), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) among others. These sport organizations have merchandise distributed online retail channels and shops. Asia Pacific and Latin America is considered to be fastest growing region in licensed sports merchandise market. This owes to increase in disposable income and luxury spending. The key players in licensed sports merchandise include VF Corporation, G III Apparel Group Ltd., Fanatics Inc., Reebok International Limited, Nike Inc., GSI Commerce, Dreams Inc, and Knights Apparel Inc. among others.
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