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Volume 21 No. 2
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USOC targets $100M in retail sales

A new strategy that has its licensed products being sold in a diverse retail footprint, from Bloomingdale’s to Wal-Mart, has U.S. Olympic Committee officials thinking about a different kind of Olympic gold.

“Our hope is that for the first time when an Olympics are held outside of the U.S., we will achieve $100 million in [retail] sales to help our privately funded [national governing bodies] and athletes,” said USOC Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird.

Retail sales of $100 million are considered the hallmark of a successful licensing program. If the USOC’s 35 licensees and their retailers combine to reach that goal, it

The USOC’s licensed goods include a separate Team USA line.
will be because of a broad-based distribution plan that has a separate Team USA line in midtier and mass retailers, and top-shelf USOC apparel in stores such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and stores of Polo Ralph Lauren.

Ralph Lauren, an official outfitter of the U.S. Olympic team, developed an upscale fashion line of branded apparel for adults and kids, some of which will be worn during the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies.

While the company took considerable heat over providing clothing for USOC athletes that was made in China, it subsequently announced that clothes for the 2014 Winter Games will be made stateside. Ralph Lauren is still bullish about its USOC rights and quietly renewed them through the 2020 Games.

Nike is the USOC’s other official outfitter and manufacturer of the jackets athletes will be wearing on the medal podium. It is also the largest licensee, and its extensive line of apparel and footwear bearing USOC marks will be sold at its own stores and through sports specialty channels such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Foot Locker and Champs.

In midtier retailers such as JCPenney, Old Navy and Gap, and mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart and Target, there’s a separate “Team USA” line of adult and children’s apparel from Outerstuff, some of which carries Olympic rings.

“We’re hoping this is kind of an evergreen product,” said Outerstuff CEO Sol Werdiger. “There should always be a Team USA, even after the Olympics.”

Outside of apparel, Fathead is in as a USOC licensee for the first time and Oakley is making Team USA sunglasses for sale in Oakley O Stores, Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters. WinCraft is making towels, pennants, stickers and glassware and is featured in a large promotion with USOC/IOC sponsor Procter & Gamble in 2,300 Wal-Marts (SportsBusiness Journal, June 18-24).

Other USOC-licensed products include a unisex jewelry line from Alex and Ani, nutrition bars from PR*Bars, and Olympic Barbie and Hot Wheels products from Mattel.

In addition to the Ralph Lauren renewal, Outerstuff is signed through 2016, with Nike and Oakley’s rights running through 2020.