This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Tapping Into the Lucrative Collegiate Licensing Market

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This Saturday four college basketball teams will compete to determine which two teams will go on to duke it out for the NCAA championship title. The next few days of events is the culmination of the annual March Madness in college basketball, a ritual that creates a boom in business for retailers selling licensed merchandise for the winning teams.

In fact, the overall collegiate sports licensing is a huge market ripe with opportunity for small retailers and not just from March Madness.

According to The Collegiate Licensing Company, the licensing affiliate of IMG College, annual retail sales for collegiate licensing in 2012 were $4.62 billion, a record high and up from just $2.9 billion in 2004. Merchandise attached to college licensing sells more licensed goods than any major league sport with the exception of Major League Baseball.


Consumers love buying everything from T-shirts and sweatshirts to Apple (AAPL) iPhone cases to home decor with their favorite college team's brand.

TheStreet took the opportunity to speak with The International Licensing Merchandiser's Association's senior vice president Marty Brochstein about what it takes for a small retailer to get in on this profitable market.

(Full disclosure: This reporter is a Wildcat. I went to graduate school at Northwestern University.)

Why is collegiate licensing so hot and how has it been essentially "recession-proof"?

Brochstein: I guess I should start with a rather basic statement which is whether you're licensing, whether you're a manufacturer that is licensing in a brand or if you're a brand owner and you're licensing it to somebody else, whatever size the brand is it's built on emotion. The essence of any brand is that it evokes something.

If you're looking at a brand potentially to license in, if you're a manufacturer and you make widgets and you're looking to license in a particular brand, you have to evaluate what that brand brings to the party.

A customer who is a Northwestern alum, I'll presume that they have some warm feelings toward it, so they are going to perhaps be open to buying a piece of apparel or having a pillow, or replica of a football helmet or something of that sort in their home or on their body that broadcasts to people, 'Hey, I went to Northwestern. I'm proud of it.' Now when you take it into the realm of athletics where let's say that Northwestern actually made the tournament this year or they went far in the tournament, it's that sense of excitement and pride build.


So that's what's behind the merchandise sale. Do you need another purple shirt? Possibly not, but if you're excited about what Northwestern is doing and you're going to a bar with all the other Wildcat fans, then that's what we're building on here, and that's the essence of collegiate licensing, whether it's for the home or apparel or any other product category.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,265.99 +109.14 0.64%
S&P 500 2,011.36 +9.79 0.49%
NASDAQ 4,593.4250 +31.2360 0.68%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs