SBJ/Dec. 14, 2009/This Week's News

Talkin’ bout my (revenue) generation

The Who aren’t playing at halftime of Super Bowl XLIV until Feb. 7, but an expanded line of cross-licensed merchandise from the NFL and the British rock legends is on sale now.

The NFL and the Super Bowl halftime act generally combine to license some apparel around the NFL championship. This year’s line from about 15 licensees includes non-apparel licensed goods for the first time, including NFL/Who posters, Zippo lighters, glassware from Boelter and a variety of products from hard-goods licensee WinCraft. Apparel licensees include Reebok and Junk Food, a pre-existing Who licensee that has sold its Who/NFL line to Bloomingdale’s.

As for the traditional Super Bowl licensing program, which annually accounts for $100 million or more in retail sales, this year’s licensee list has about 95 licensees with products as diverse as USAopoly’s Super Bowl team-specific Monopoly game, Baby Fanatic’s Super Bowl sippy cups, Destination Maternity’s Super Bowl maternity apparel and Strategic Partner’s Super Bowl scrubs. New licensees include Longaberger, which makes baskets, and Tiffany & Co., the longtime manufacturer of the NFL’s Vince Lombardi championship trophy who was not a licensee until recently.

About 15 licensees have goods tied to The Who’s
Super Bowl appearance. The mix includes non-
apparel items for the first time.

“They’ll be making crystal commemorative Super Bowl products,” said Leo Kane, the NFL’s vice president of consumer products, “so don’t expect any miniature licensed Lombardi trophies.”

New products and licensees aside, new teams or teams with championship pedigree, like the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers, are always important factors in determining how much Super Bowl licensed product sells.

“As of today, we have eight of 12 teams that would qualify for the playoffs that haven’t won a Super Bowl or haven’t won one in 10 years or more,” Kane said recently, “so that’s something we’re looking at, not to mention the prospect of two undefeated teams meeting in the Super Bowl for the first time.”

While that would likely generate heavy product sales, the likelihood of it happening is minimal. At press time, the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints (whose run has pushed them from 17th in sales on NFL.com to 10th) remained undefeated, but there have only been four undefeated seasons in NFL history. Of course, this is also the first time there were two 12-0 teams in the same NFL season.

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