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A Boston Bruins Adirondack Chair

The Puck Stops Here
Team Sports America to Add NHL Products in 2011
December 1, 2010

Sometimes success in the licensed sport business is as close as your own backyard. That was literally the case for Team Sports America, which first grabbed the attention of sports fans nine years ago with an imaginative line of licensed birdhouses and steppingstones. Team Sports America’s “yard line” truly took off in 2005 and 2006 with the introduction of the Scoreboard Clock Thermometer, which included NFL, MLB and NCAA teams. “It was a huge seller,” says Executive VP Mike Sockel.

“We’re not a me-too company,” he adds. “We look to add a little panache to our licenses.”

A Montreal Canadiens Scoreboard Clock

For 2011, the panache comes courtesy of a recently acquired Gift & Accessory business featuring NHL and MLB teams. The company plans to package these products for maximum impact at retail, along the lines of its other gift sets, which have sold extremely well. According to Sockel, the recipe for success in this category began with NFL key chains, pens and small leather items.

“We were the only ones that had the licenses for all of these products,” he recalls. “We took all three and put them together in a gift set. So instead of aiming at the trinket business, we appealed to the gift-pack business. Buyers were saying what a great gift piece this was—and no one else had it.”

Major League Baseball saw the potential of the gift pack business and granted Team Sports America a license for this category soon after. With its recent acquisition, the company will now go after hockey fans in a major way.

A Chicago Blackhawks Jersey Grill Cover

As its product selection broadens, Team Sports America is careful to maintain its standards of quality. Right now, says Sockel, most retailers buy dozens of items from the company. “Most of them do a lot of categories rather than cherry-picking,” he adds.

Not that there isn’t a lot to pick from. On the contrary, Team Sports America offers a wide range of licensed products for the backyard, pool and patio—from furniture to floats to swizzle sticks—as well as plenty of indoor products, too. The company will be showing its stuff in Las Vegas this January at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show.




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