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MLS HOPES FOR BIG KICK AT RETAIL FOR LICENSED MERCHANDISE
Published May 1, 1998
SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS examines Fall '98 licensed soccer apparel in its SportsCast Seasons section and Kristina Grish reports that with World Cup attention increasing this year, MLS licensees "are rooting for 1998 to be the year that league soccer makes the retail cut." Adidas Soccer Apparel Line Manager Stephen Todd: "[S]ales have not been what they were expected to be. But the NFL and NBA had growing pains in the beginning. Now the battle is to make the MLS a credible league, too." In a sidebar, SGB's Marianne Bhonslay reports that from a licensing perspective, MLS is "making slow but steady gains." MLS projects generating an estimated $65-75M at retail this season, up from $50M last year. First-year licensing revenues at retail were about $30M. SGB's SportsCast Seasons special also includes an exclusive survey of soccer dealers nationally, which shows that adidas and Nike "are the fastest growing brands among soccer retailers in terms of both dollar and percentage growth" (SGB, 4/15 issue).