NFLThe NFL’s recent product licensing efforts emphasize fandom both inside and outside of the stadium. By Jim Harris

Every National Football League fan has their own game day rituals. For many fans, putting out a spread of food and beverages for friends and family and watching their favorite team on TV is just as much a tradition as going to the game.

Meeting the needs of those fans is a high priority for the league and its product licensees. The NFL is adding to the products it offers to the fans it terms “homegaters.”

“This is something fans have been doing for many years, even before there was a name for it,” Vice President of Consumer Products Rhiannon Madden says. “People at different levels of fandom homegate in different ways – we wanted to be sure we offered something for them that fit into their lifestyle.”

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Teawork AthleticTeamwork Athletic’s patented technology and proprietary manufacturing processes enable it to develop, design, produce and market apparel much faster than its competition. By Jim Harris

Teamwork Athletic Apparel is just as much a technology company as it is an apparel provider. “We have technology that allows us to do in hours or days what it takes our competitors weeks or months to do,” says Dave Caserta, president and CEO of the San Marcos, Calif.-based company.

Founded 30 years ago as a provider of on-the-field uniforms for practically every sport, Teamwork Athletic 10 years ago developed proprietary manufacturing processes and patented technology that allowed it to greatly expand its offerings.

The company today manufactures uniforms as well as outerwear, active apparel, sportswear and fan wear. Teamwork Athletic’s products – which are marketed under brand names including Teamwork, ProSphere and Spectrum – are distributed through a network of authorized dealers and sold by a variety of brick-and-mortar as well as online retailers. Much of the company’s ProSphere and Spectrum products are printed using the process of sublimation, which involves transferring dye into a fabric using heat, pressure and time.

VALondon’s Victoria and Albert Museum aims to grow further by capitalizing on its rich archives, and innovative technologies. By Bianca Herron

Founded in 1852, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance with more than 2.3 million objects that reflect over 5,000 years of human creativity. The London-based Museum’s varied objects provide infinite sources of inspiration for its licensees, Licensing Research and Development Manager Amelia Calver notes.

“We provide a tailor-made research and design development service that gives licensees exclusive access, which also helps to identify the right patterns relevant to their product type and appropriate season,” she explains. “We do not have prescriptive style guides typical of entertainment and character licensing; instead, we are very flexible and encourage licensees to be creative with our archive.”

Calver adds the V&A works “on a case-by-case basis” to create something unique with each licensee. “The expert advice and support from the V&A team ensures that every design is specifically chosen; it’s a very individual service,” she says. “We also work closely with trend agencies to ensure we’re presenting design inspiration that will be relevant 12 to 18 months from now.”

MERCHANT FACTORS CORPWith a small but mighty team of employees, Merchant Factors provides its clients with a personalized approach to success. By Bianca Herron

Merchant Factors understands the needs of growing businesses. For over 30 years the company has been serving small to mid size businesses with its nimbleness and innovative financing tools. Though the New York City-based company’s primary focus has been providing credit coverage and financial resources to its clients since 1985, three years ago the company launched a licensing division to further help its clients, and non-factored clients alike, achieve greater growth and success.

“As a company that finances wholesale companies, many of our clients were asking our managers for licensing help,” Vice President of Licensing Vicki Engel explains. “Possessing the strong design, manufacturing and sales capabilities in their respective categories, many of our clients had already developed successful proprietary labels and private label programs with Merchant’s support. But in recent years, as we’ve seen the demand for highly recognized brands increase at all levels of distribution, we realized our clients were looking to licensing as a way to drive growth. We’re uniquely positioned to help them achieve that.” 

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICWith a new leadership team, National Geographic Partners aims to grow its company further and expand its licensing business. By Bianca Herron

For nearly 130 years, the nonprofit National Geographic Society, a scientific and educational organization, has explored the earth, helped protect wildlife and habitats, and provided K-12 students with informational books and magazines to help ensure they are geographically literate.

Forty years ago, Fox acquired the licensing to start the National Geographic channel, which now reaches 438 million households in 172 countries and 43 languages. In recent years Fox also acquired National Geographic’s media assets, including its magazines, digital and social media platforms, books, National Geographic Studios and catalog licensing.

Additionally, two years ago, the Society and Fox partnered to create National Geographic Partners (NGP), which is the commercial arm of the Society and extends its mission with a portion of its proceeds used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education. “That money goes into the endowment of the Society,” explains Rosa Zeegers, executive vice president of consumer products and experiences. “The Society is now insured for another 129 years of continuing their great work. That not only means that we are commercial in our endeavors and objectives, but we are also a brand that gives back.”

Maui and SonsMaui and Sons uses licensing to bring California beach culture to the entire world. By Tim O’Connor

If it hadn’t been for a batch of burnt cookies, the world might have missed out on one of the foremost surfing culture brands. Jeff Yokoyama was a young surfer in 1980 when he and two friends decided to turn a family recipe into a cookie company in Newport Beach, Calif. The business failed, but the trio loved the black cookie with colorful chips logo so much that they incorporated it into their next venture: an apparel company aimed at beach sportswear called Maui and Sons.

Maui and Sons started out by slapping oversized cookie logo patches onto the backs of vintage shorts. To promote the new brand, Yokoyama gave the shorts out to beach volleyball players. It soon became a hit along Newport Beach and Maui and Sons quickly added T-shirts and accessories.

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