SPORTS MONTH: Sector Guide Special

Ranging from the well-known - such as football, cricket and rugby - to those which aren't quite as prominent on the UK High Street (NASCAR and MLB for example), Licensing.biz takes a look at some of the major sporting properties available for licence...
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England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)

Cricket has been steadily increasing in popularity for the past few years, with the Twenty20 format proving popular with a younger audience - and commercial opportunities have increased, too.
Adidas recently became the kit supplier to the England team, while other signs of the growing popularity of the sport and commercial appeal include the success of the Indian Premier League, the new proposed Champions League format and Texan billionaire Allen Stanford's 20*20 for 20 match between England and the Stanford All Stars in November this year, with the winning team collecting $20m for just a few hours play.
Licensees are already onboard for the likes of apparel, supporter product and toy crickety equipment, while CPLG Sport is also in advanced discussions across a range of categories - publishing, gifts and collectables and toys and games in particular.

Everton Football Club

A founding member of the Football League in 1888 and the Premier League in 1992, Everton FC has won nine League Championships, five FA Cups and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1985.
Also known as 'the people's club', Everton prides itself on its reputation as a family and community club, with a wide reaching community programme including coaching and development activities in schools and programmes to empower marginalised groups through sports.
As one of the teams considered most likely to break into the top four - and a proposed ground move under consideration - the licensing programme is already quite comprehensive.

Extreme Group

This group is an entrepreneur-led collection of companies all of which share the Extreme brand and set of values.
They deliver a range of branded lifestyle products and services including hotels, footwear, sunglasses, watches, drinks and pre-pay credit cards, plus Extreme Element - sports courses and experiences) and the Extreme Sports Channel. Indeed, the global recognition of the brand can be attributed to the 24/7 exposure of the Extreme Sports Channel, which is currently broadcast to over 40 million homes in 60 countries and in 12 languages.
A new Extreme Hotel is due to open in London in Q1 2009, a new Extreme retail store will launch this October in Oxford, while a new Ex Store/Ex Freshies (combined store/cafe) will be coming in Guildford in March 2009. All of these will stock Extreme's licensed products including clothing, accessories, luggage, bikes, skateboards, watches and drinks.

FIA World Rally Championship

Widely regarded as the most challenging motor sport competition in the world, FIA WRC pits cars and drivers against some of the toughest and most varied conditions on the planet.
From the ice and snow of Scandinavia to the stifling heat of Greece and the dizzy altitudes of the Argentinean Andes, the WRC now attracts a TV audience of over 816 million viewers in 2007, with coverage in over 180 countries.
All competing cars are based on current road-going manufacturer models, such as the Ford Focus, Citroen C4 and Subaru Impreza. Although take a look underneath the chassis and you'll find turbocharged, four wheel drive monsters. Regardless of road surface, the cars can accelerate from a standing start to 100kph in around three seconds, achieving top speeds of up to 220kph.
The number one selling merchandise at events, the WRC brand outperforms all team and event-related product. The power of the brand is shown by a TNS Sport Online Survey 2007 of 12,000 respondents which found that one in two fans would be influenced by the WRC when choosing a car.
In terms of licensing potential, the brand has a wide range of audiences. While the majority of fans are between 16 and 34 year old males, the WRC also attracts motor sports youngest supporters, with Europeans making up two thirds of the loyal fanbase.
This diversity is reflected in the licensing programme, which includes car accessories, stationery and amusement ride-ons. CPLG Sport is now looking for new partners to further build the programme.

Major League Baseball

Quite possibly the original American sports brand - and indeed one of the most powerful American brands in the global marketplace - IMG has represented MLB in Europe since 1991. Over the past 17 years it has gradually built it into a business worth over $200 million at retail.
Products currently licensed in Europe include headwear, apparel for men, women and youth, underwear and socks, bags, stationery, luggage and accessories. New licences are also being added for footwear, eyewear, bags and motorcycle helmets.

MotoGP

Dorna Sports has been the exclusive holder of all the commercial and television rights for the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) since 1992.
Coverage is provided globally, with the average number of viewers per round standing at an impressive 300 million in 207 countries. Live TV signal is now available in 184 nations spread across five continents.
Around 70 per cent of the audience is made up of males (with 30 per cent females) and 75 per cent are between the ages of 16 and 37. 90 per cent would choose a brand because they associate it with MotoGP and TV viewers have been following MotoGP races regularly for an average of 7.6 years (CSM International GmbH and IFM International GmbH).
Currently there are approximately 50 active MotoGP licensees, producing over 700 products worldwide. The extensive range covers categories from apparel to publishing, interactive games to stationery, technical equipment to toys and games.
Some of the firm's most recent signed licences include Winning Moves (Top Trumps); Mondo (toy scooters, skate board, beach toys, inflatables and roller skates); Haynes Publishing; Yamaha (MotoGP scooter); Capcom (video games); Nolan (helmets); and Enri (back to school and stationery) to name just a few.

M-Sport

The BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally team is one of the World Rally Championship's foremost teams. From the Escort to the modern Ford Focus WRC, Ford has been a mainstay of the WRC since the early 1970s.
In 1997, British champion and Blue Oval stalwart Malcolm Wilson's M-Sport won the contract to run Ford's campaign, taking the team to its first victory in the '97 Acropolis Rally.
In 2006 and 2007, Ford won consecutive FIA manufacturers titles and is, this year, vying for a third with the Finnish duo of Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala.
In terms of licensing, the opportunities are wide ranging and encompass the licences of model and remote control cars. Working with some of the world's top companies, products include radio control cars, slot cars and construction models.
New channels are being explored as CPLG Sport aims to bring the BP Ford Abu Dhabi Rally Team brand onto the High Street, making it more accessible to rally fans and increasing awareness of the rallying mark.

NASCAR

NASCAR fans purchase more than $2 billion annually in licensed products, growth which is down to significant strides in various categories including apparel, accessories, collectables, electronics/toys, gifts and novelties, house and home, food and publishing - all taking advantage of the brand's 60th anniversary this year.
Licensed published material includes products such as traditional books, calendars, comics and guides. The NASCAR Library Collection is a division of the firm's overall licensing operation, with NASCAR Publishing overseeing more than 40 licensed publishing partners.
Meanwhile, within the collectables sector, Motorsports Authentics rolled out a range of new products for 2008 including Dale Earnhardt Jr's new design on die-cast, as well as apparel early in the season. Officially licensed helmets are available from Checkered Flag.
In toys, Fisher-Price has launched the NASCAR Spin n Speed Raceway in its Little People line, which is a Wal-Mart exclusive. A series of new products are also due from Play Along in the US, as well as Wham-O.
Electronic Arts has the official NASCAR 09 video game (which hit US stores back in June), while Kent Watersports will release a line of NASCAR-inspired water and snow products for fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr and Jeff Gordon. Generic NASCAR schemes and a checkered flag design will also be available for all products.

Sunderland

ITV acquired the Sunderland commercial rights earlier this year and the firm is aiming to increase the club's licensing portfolio at the same time as its success on the pitch is growing.
There are nine licensees currently on board including Zap (bedding, curtains, towels, rugs and cushions); Football Mania (car products, back to school stationery and glassware); GB Eye (posters and prints); Home Win (luggage, headwear, pet products and plush); Pineapple Aroundshot (framed and mounted photographs of players and stadiums); Score Draw (retro football shirts); and World Centre (branded jewellery).
ITV is now looking to expand into a number of alternative areas including sporting equipment, books, executive products, food, footwear and office equipment.

The FA

The Three Lions is one of the most distinctive and famous brands both within and outside of sports. The FA has been steadily building the licensee list for England, with current licensed categories including football shirts, footballs and football accessories, computers, sticker books and trading cards, mini fridges, stationery and celebration cakes.
With the England team starting their qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup away to Andora kicking off on September 6th, further news on the England licensing programme is due in spring/summer 2009.

The RFU

The England Rugby brand is one of the world's most recognised and respected, with two main elements - the sport and the fan. Since the win over Australia in 2003 and Final appearance in 2007, the brand has grown swiftly.
The licensing programme, which has been carefully built around the England Rugby brand, has been transformed in the past two years into a programme of 'best in class' licensees. With the intention of furthering its presence on the High Street, the RFU and CPLG Sport will be expanding the rights for the Twickenham brand. In 2010, England rugby will be celebrating 100 years of playing on the same ground, with the licensing programme reflecting the unchanging essence of Twickenham.

Wembley Stadium

The home of football in the UK, the new Wembley was opened in May 2007 and is the largest spectator-covered stadium in the world with 90,000 seats. It has already played host to an array of sporting events and music concerts.
One of its newest clients, CPLG Sports is working with Wembley to develop a range of products to reflect the history, heritage and excitement of the stadium from posters and books to DVDs and souvenirs.
The firm is confident that Wembley can sit alongside other iconic British brands at retail level such as Oxford and Cambridge universities, London Transport and the National Trust.

West Ham United

Since forming in 1895, West Ham has developed its status as an internationally recognised brand while retaining the spirit of its working class East London roots.
The club now has a growing fanbase both in the UK and worldwide following the emergence of overseas investment.
The licensing programme is pretty comprehensive and continues to grow. Categories include publishing, core supporter product, bedding, apparel and footwear, celebration cakes, toys and games, stationery and greetings cards.
With the upcoming 2012 Olympics, plus the expansion of Canary Wharf, links with supporters continue to grow, not least through the club's official website which is outperforming its rivals.

Williams F1

Formed in 1977 by Frank Williams and Patrick Head, Williams F1 has won a total of 16 FIA Formula One World Championships.
Formula One itself has become the biggest annual sporting event, attracting 597 million unique viewers across 188 countries with 3.8 million live event spectators in 2007.
CPLG Sport currently has a licensing programme in development and is aiming to cover several key and innovative categories, details of which will be announced in the near future.

Wimbledon

The name 'Wimbledon' has worldwide recognition and appeal and is synonymous not only with the premier tennis event in the world, but with quality, tradition and heritage. Because of this, the brand has been able to be licensed by a large number of companies not directly related to tennis or sport, such as Waterford Crystal and Links of London in the UK and other diverse categories in other parts of the world.
Other key licensees include Christy Towels, Fila, Gameloft, G Ettinger, Kitbag, O H Hewett, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prince, Slazenger, Asahi (Japan), Takihiyo (Japan) and Beauty Fashion (China).
Going forward, agent IMG is looking to expand the brand in the Far East, capitalising particularly on the potential in China.

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