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Brisk Business Marks Final Day of Show
Buyers and Sellers Give Marketplace a Thumbs-Up
January 19, 2008

The third and final day of the Sports Licensing & Entertainment Marketplace and Tailgate • Picnic Show put an exclamation point on a highly positive trade event. The range of products was excellent, the top companies and licensors were well-represented, and the mood in general was upbeat among both buyers and sellers.

Traffic was very good for “getaway” day, owing in part to a show promotion which doubled “License to Buy” discounts at certain booths for business written on Day Three. One buyer turned in more than $100,000 worth of “License to Buy” orders on Friday.

Among the noteworthy first-time exhibitors was Armstrong, which did very well with two products—the Fan Décor LamiMat and the Comfort Mat. Both come with college logos and colors, along with the quality and durability for which the company is known.

“We’re a 150-year-old manufacturer, but this was our coming-out party in the licensed sports industry,” said Chuck White. ”This was a very good venue for us. Retailers seemed very pleased to see licensed products that could move them toward home décor and away from novelties.”

Brad Haley of Schutt Sports says this was the best show he’s ever been to. “We saw a lot of the larger buyers and we had good traffic,” he says. Schutt was definitely the hot booth on Thursday when Rudy Ruettiger showed up to sign autographs.

One of the big winners here was North American Licensing, which brought college-licensed remote controls and headphones to Las Vegas. “The results were ten times what we expected,” smiled Mike McInerney. “The Concept Shop drove a lot of people our way.”

Tom Portale of Prizes! Also liked the way the numbers worked for his company, which makes licensed souvenir sports novelties. “This show is a perfect match for our product,” he explained. “At other shows we appeal to maybe ten percent of the retailers. Here everyone is our customer! We give this show an A. Absolutely.”

One of the more popular items here was Jersey Naps, paper napkins printed and folded to look like sports jerseys. They were a hit at the Ultimate Tailgate Party and a big seller in the booth. “This show was off-the-charts successful,” said Will Katz. “We saw numerous channels of distribution--including mass merchants, grocery, team shops—and opened up SKUs here that we hadn’t even considered when we got here three days ago. This show helped us understand where the market can take us.”

“This show has been very good for us,” said Janyce Mabra of TriStar Productions, which is showing minor league baseball cards and other hobby-related treasures. “The buyers here were ready to do business. I’ve heard that from a lot of other exhibitors.”

In the next booth over, Andy Mendelson of Sports Images agreed that the response to cards has been strong. Sports Images distributes major league cards for Topps and Upper Deck. Retailers appreciate what the card companies are doing to bring young fans back into the hobby, added Mendelson, and gave a thumbs-up to his new Sports Equation math cards, which feature the top player from each MLB franchise.

The learning component also brought retailers to the Norwood House Press booth, where the groundbreaking educational publisher debuted its MLB-licensed Team Spirit series. The series is comprised of 30 books, each covering one of the MLB ballclubs.

“There is very little educational product in the licensed sports category,” said Patti Hall. “Buyers here like the idea of bringing this type of book into the licensed product mix. It’s something new, and it’s something adult fans won’t think twice about purchasing for their kids. We’re very happy we exhibited.”

The Tailgate • Picnic Show housed many happy exhibitors, too. Retailers were genuinely interested in grabbing a bigger piece of this marketplace, and valuable connections were made here by buyers and sellers alike. John Largent, head of the American Tailgaters Association, said this show was outstanding.

“We had several new exhibitors and a lot of new buyers here,” Largent reported. “Many of the buyers said they really got a great education regarding the vastness of the tailgating space. We’re extremely excited by the response we received this year and are anticipating a great show next year in Miami Beach."



Sports Licensing & entertainment Marketplace
Tailgate Picnic Show


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