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Volume 21 No. 1
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Booths, exhibitors at sports licensing show up more than 20 percent

The resurgence of sports licensing over the past several years is reflected in the rebound experienced by the only sports licensing trade show, which opens this week in Las Vegas.

Now in its sixth year, the Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show has become an industry barometer. Show promoters Hardy Katz and Stanley Schwartz, who once staged the Super Show, said that this year’s show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center will see an increase of more than 20 percent from last year’s attendance of about 7,000.

Booth space is sold out, with 600-plus booths and 380 exhibitors, which marks another uptick of more than 20 percent.
With that growth, the show is moving to the Las Vegas Convention Center for 2013 and 2014, which will offer nearly twice as much space, Katz said. The show started at the convention center before moving to the Mandalay site a few years ago.

“Certainly we’ve seen soft areas in other areas of the economy, but when it comes to licensing business, this just shows how important that fan connection is and maybe even more so in tougher times,” said Gene Goldberg, a former NFL licensing executive and now an independent consultant.

Last year, the threat of lockouts at the NBA and NFL was one of the most discussed topics at the licensing show. The NBA lockout, however, has actually ended up benefiting the show. It caused the league to cancel its annual January concessionaires exhibition and so league officials are combining that with this week’s show in Vegas, offering a private show the day before the official opening and continuing with licensees through the three days of the licensing show.

NBA league partners, including Spalding and master apparel licensee Adidas, are in the show for the first time, and the NBA itself has a booth. Other licensors displaying include MLS, the Collegiate Licensing Co. and the Collegiate Licensed Properties Association. Manufacturers on the floor include VF, Russell, G-III, Northwest and Twins/47 Brand.