NFL launched the first licensing program in 1963 using player trading cards under the visionary direction of commissioner Pete Rozelle. It was an attempt to enhance consumer affinity towards franchises and to expand market penetration. Less did commissioner Rozelle know that the concept of licensing her started would become a big industry of modern times besides providing sports franchises additional revenues.
Sports licensed products include variety of goods, such as novelties, memorabilia, apparels, trading cards, video games, applications etc. Apparels and video games dominate maximum sales in sports merchandising globally.
While merchandising has been growing since 1963 the sector experienced its peak in the mid 90’s where from $5 billion industry it bloomed to $20 billion industry. (Source:SGMA)
Sports properties have consistently been among the most popular licensing properties due to the global passion for sports. Global popularity of sports like football (soccer), tennis and events like olympics has widened the scope of merchandising mean while in USA popular sports leagues like NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR, NHL, MLS and college sports leagues turnaround multi billion dollars in merchandising and keep growing year on year.
Following is an infographic explaining the Licensing business and where sports licensing stands in terms of percentage wise domination in the US.