Like old times: Longhorns return licensing rights to CLC
The University of Texas’ powerful licensing rights are going back to Collegiate Licensing Co. after the school managed its rights in-house since 2016.
The Longhorns were CLC’s best-selling school for a decade until they opted not to renew three years ago. Former Texas Athletic Director Steve Patterson said at the time that the athletic department could save as much as $1 million a year by managing its own licensing rights.
Texas, now under new administration with second-year AD Chris Del Conte, decided to return to more of a traditional licensing agreement with CLC in a deal that the school’s board of regents are expected to approve this week. The new CLC agreement will run through 2032.
The Longhorns’ remake of their licensing business could extend beyond the merchandise. They are in the final year of their retail agreement with Fanatics for online and in-venue sales. An RFP for those rights will go out in the coming months.
Specific financial numbers from the CLC deal will not be available until after board approval, but it comes with certain revenue protections plus royalties. The Longhorns made $8 million in royalties last year.
“We’re going to have more freedom and flexibility to license the best-in-class apparel licensees that are out there,” said Drew Martin, Texas’ executive senior associate AD for external operations.
Cory Moss, CLC’s executive vice president and managing director, welcomed the Longhorns back to CLC by acknowledging their “unique brand that has reach well beyond its traditional fan base.”
The Longhorns’ previous arrangement provided a master license to 289c, the Dallas Cowboys-owned apparel company. Martin said the old deal helped “clean up the marketplace. I think perhaps we got a little too clean.”
“We’ve got a lot of people who are desiring product that we haven’t licensed yet,” Martin said. “And so, this opens up the marketplace a little bit more for us. It is much more traditional licensing agreement for sure. We don’t intend to go and license everyone.”
One example Martin cited is retro apparel. Specialty products like retro hats and T-shirts haven’t been as plentiful, and Texas likely will look into creating more variety with vintage licensees such as ’47 Brand and Original Retro Brand.