Consolidating two brands under one roof can create hurdles and uncertainty, but Rack Room Shoes and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse have successfully shared resources while leveraging a larger imprint in the shoe industry to demand more consideration from the major footwear brands.

For the most part, the transition has gone smoothly because of the operational overlap between the two stores, despite catering to different customer bases. “They both have an intersection where they have similar products,” explains President and CEO Mark Lardie. “The best shoes are the best shoes.”

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As the licensing arm of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), NFL Players Inc. certainly has a lot of star power to work with. After all, it can take advantage of the athletic prowess and celebrity status of NFL players, as well as the massive popularity of the sport. But according to Steve Scebelo, vice president of licensing and business development, the NFLPA doesn’t have to go it alone.

“We have a lot of conversations around looking to innovate and create new products and programs for players,” he says. 

“The market has been receptive. A healthy number of innovative, prospective licensees are coming to us with new ideas, while we are continually seeking new product extensions.”

Read more: NFLPA

Each week, 13 million people in the United States, and many more millions worldwide, tune into WWE programming to see the sports entertainment juggernaut’s Superstars and Divas do battle inside – and often outside – of the ring.

There’s no shortage of opportunities to watch the company’s engaging and colorful storylines play out on television, either on Monday Night RAW, the company’s live, three-hour flagship weekly show airing on the USA Network; or other programming, including Smackdown, which will join RAW on USA next year. More than 1.3 million people also subscribe to WWE’s over-the-top digital streaming service, the WWE Network, to see its monthly pay-per-view (PPV) events and access its massive library of original and archived content.

Cable television isn’t the only place to experience the brand. Smartphones, computers, tablets, gaming consoles and other mobile devices are also portals into the “WWE Universe,” as the company’s fanbase is known. 

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A wildly popular card game coupled with devoted fans is the perfect equation for a gaming company’s success, but the relationship it has with licensing partners is equally important.

Such is the case for Steve Jackson Games (SJ Games), the developer of a wide variety of card, board and dice games as well as books and magazines devoted to game enthusiasts. The company has 40 employees and had sales of $8.5 million in 2014.

SJ Games was founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, and has realized considerable success with myriad releases. But none has enjoyed more popularity than Munchkin, which the company describes as ”dungeon crawling without all that annoying roleplaying junk in the form of a card game. It’s fun, it’s funny and it’s our top seller ever.” 

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Last year was a big year for one of Sony Pictures’ most popular and enduring properties, as the movie “Ghostbusters” marked its 30th anniversary with an successful celebration that included a partnership with Gallery 1988 for an art exhibit, a limited theatrical re-release of the original 1984 film re-mastered in 4K across select markets (including the U.S.), a promotional partnership with Krispy Kreme donuts, and an assortment of top preforming classic merchandise, all of this to lead to the January announcement of a new movie with an all-new cast for slated for July 22nd, 2016. Both the original and new “Ghostbusters” figure to be major components of Sony Pictures Consumer Products’ licensing efforts for 2015 and 2016, and Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products Gregory Economos says that speaks to the company’s extensive stable of classic and new properties.

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New York City is the de facto capital of the world, and millions come from around the globe to take in its sights. As one of the world’s premier tourist destinations and the setting for countless movies, TV shows and books, nearly every aspect of the city has been enshrined as an icon, and that includes the city’s public transportation system, operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

The buses, trains, bridges and tunnels operated by MTA are just as iconic and well-known as New York City landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, so it’s not surprising that residents and visitors alike would want to have a little piece of those in their own homes. As director of marketing and communications for the MTA, Mark Heavey’s job is to ensure that the image of the authority is protected no matter where or how its iconography is used. 

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As a global leader in the development of brand, character and entertainment footwear and apparel, Leomil Group sees a wealth of opportunities for the future by partnering with the right licensors. “The future of licensing is about having the right partners,” CEO Albert Milhado says. “Look at the success of Frozen; every girl fights for that pair of shoes or that dress. Every day there are new opportunities and the world of licensing is a great opportunity for the future.”

Milhado founded the Leomil Group and merged with the Oudenaarde, Belgium-based Cortina Group in 2007. Milhado will put his succession plans in motion this year. The change in leadership will be announced at the Licensing Expo 2015. “I will still be available when they need me, but my children are taking over all the main positions,” Milhado says. 

Read more: Cortina/Leomil Group

King’s Hawaiian never disappoints with its bread products that are consistently baked to perfection. The bread is always soft and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness. “Nothing else comes close to our product and our recipe is the main thing that sets us apart,” says Courtney Taira, granddaughter of founder Robert Taira and consumer care department lead. “For us it’s all about the quality. It has to be 100 percent correct or it doesn’t go out.” 

Although the company is based in Torrance, Calif., Robert R. Taira founded King’s Hawaiian in Hilo, Hawaii in the 1950s when he opened his first bake shop – Robert’s Bakery – after graduating at the top of his baking class. The first round, soft loaves of original recipe King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread were made there and a local traditional favorite was born. 

Read more: King’s Hawaiian

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