With India’s appetite and love for sports, sports licensing space has changed dynamically over the years. Sports licensing has arrived as one of the fastest growing sectors while setting bench-mark as it leverages a global fan base either via a sports star, team or the sport itself.
While we are discussing sports, do you know which brand or sport brought licensing first into India? Umm, it’s not football or cricket! Confused? Well!
India first experienced sports licensing in 1996 with WWE coming to India. The L&M portfolio spans various categories including toys, apparel, and others. World Wrestling Entertainment is an American integrated media and entertainment company that primarily is known for professional wrestling.
From t-shirts and titles to action figures and footwear, fans have been able to purchase anything and everything to do with WWE and its performers over the last three decades. WWE is a USD1 billion global brand at retail annually.
- WWE Figurines and role-play sets with Mattel
- Trading Cards with Topps
- Video Games with Take 2
- Apparel with Proline
- Home Video with Excel Productions
- Bags and toys with Simba
- Puzzles and Boardgames with Play Kraft
- Back-to-school with Only Kids
- Stationery with Excel
The merchandise is available at all key retail in India such as Landmark and Hamley’s and also online retailers such as The Souled Store, Flipkart.
The WWE Shop: A fan’s delight!
WWE, in partnership with The Souled Store, launched a local, e-commerce WWE Shop in India for the first time.
Fans across the country will be able to order a plethora of branded merchandise, including authentic Superstar apparel and accessories, replica championship titles, toys, console games, collectibles, trading cards, stationery and more.
The licensing agreement also marks the first time authentic WWE Superstar apparel and accessories as well as WWE replica championship titles will be available in India.
Which WWE stars are moving the most merchandise?
John Cena, the WWE veteran is still far and away the #1 mover of WWE merchandise, according to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Cena currently has 36 items listed on the WWE Shop website.
WWE Champion AJ Styles and Roman Reigns are going back and forth over the second position in merchandise sales.
WWE and the Licensing Story…
WWE licensed products, created by our more than 200 licensees in more than 100 categories worldwide, are available at all major retailers, including Walmart, Target, Kmart, Toys “R” Us, GameStop, Walgreens, Barnes & Noble, Hot Topic, ASDA & Tesco.
Since 2010, Mattel has been WWE’s global master toy partner and in 2017 WWE was ranked first in the action figure category in the US. It is also the number one best-selling fighting video game franchise in console history with over 80 million units sold. WWE is a top performing mobile gaming brand with over 90 million downloads across its games portfolio through the end of the 2018 second quarter that includes the newest game, WWE Mayhem by Reliance, which was named Editor’s Choice on Google Play and has already reached over 12 million installs.
The company attributes the success of the WWE to the continuing popularity of our Superstars.
WWE Books has placed 25 titles on “The New York Times Best Sellers” list since 1999, including DK’s WWE 50 and WWE Encyclopedia. With DK as the core publisher and key partners BOOM! Studios, St Martin’s Press, ECW Press and Quarto, WWE’s publishing slate include Superstars bios; historical guides; children’s books; sticker books; coloring and activity books, comic books; graphic novels and many others.
Music is a crucial and emotional part of WWE programming, resulting in recent partnerships with an array of artists including The Weeknd, Metallica, Pitbull, Diddy, Demi Lovato, Kid Rock, Florida Georgia Line, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, and Fifth Harmony.
WWE continues to produce original music through in-house composers. WWE releases Theme Music worldwide on digital stores and streaming platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube. John Cena’s “The Time Is Now” was licensed by Toyota for a national TV advertisement.
The Number Game:
Revenues increased 31% to USD 281.6 million, which was the highest quarterly revenue in WWE history, in the second quarter of 2018. Operating income nearly doubled to USD 21.2 million from USD 10.7 million in the prior year quarter.
Digital engagement continued to grow through the first six months of 2018 with video views up 58% to 14.4 billion and hours consumed up 71% to 509 million across digital and social media platforms.
WWE is consistently on TV in India from 1996 and reaches 110 million viewers annually.