Sporting giants form panel for BLE keynote

Senior licensing professionals from National Basketball Association (NBA), Rugby Football Union and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) will debate the globalisation of sport in this year’s keynote at Brand Licensing Europe on Tuesday 11th October at 12.30 (11 – 13 October 2016, Olympia, London).

Tony Lisanti, Global Editorial Director, at License Global will lead the panel and is joined by:

·         Vandana Balachandar, Vice President, Global Merchandising, EMEA, National Basketball Association (NBA)
·         Andy Ward, Head of Merchandise & Licensing, Rugby Football Union
·         Andreas Pletl, Retail & Licensing Manager Asia-Pacific, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

The panel will discuss the current trends in global sports licensing, offering attendees their view on major opportunities, where the future of the market is headed and how to take advantage of an increasingly global market.

“Sports licensing is one of the top performing categories driving growth in the licensing industry” comments Anna Knight, Brand Director at BLE. “Branded merchandise has long connected fans with their teams, however licensing brings much more than this. It allows fans to connect with individual players, allows clubs to promote the right messages and aids expansion into new territories. We are delighted to welcome these three international organisations to the stage to share their unique insights and debate the future of sports licensing.”

·         The NBA is a global sports and media business built around three professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League.  The league has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages, and NBA merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on 6 continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2015-16 season featured 100 international players from 37 countries and territories.  NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, and the NBA App, which achieved record viewership and traffic during the 2015-16 season.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with more than one billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms.

·         The RFU’s licensing programme currently includes over 40 best in class licensees, which include publishing, electricals, FMCG, accessories, and training equipment partners all hoping to capitalise on the desire of the nation to associate with the iconic England Rugby rose.

·         FIFA collaborates with a number of brands globally and has a substantial white label programme with 160 licensees generating 150 million products globally, including the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Its two longest partnerships are with Panini and Electronic Arts, who engage fans through the Panini World CupTM sticker albums, which have been produced since 1970, and EA Sports FIFA football videogame franchise, which sees over 65 million games played weekly.
BLE is the largest and most prestigious licensing event in Europe, and is organised by UBM and sponsored by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA).  Now in its 18th year, it features over 2,500 characters, images and brands available to license from over 250 exhibitors.

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