Building off the continued success and growth of the United Soccer League, USL announced the launch of a new league-wide licensing program. Through licensing, the League will work to further engage its fan base by introducing more licensed Club products during the upcoming season.
The league has tapped former Major League Soccer (MLS) and Starter licensing veteran Stu Crystal to lead the initiative.
The plan will also include USL Division III clubs and will initially focus on categories such as apparel, novelties, accessories and more.
“As part of our continued growth, demand for club licensed products has increased significantly – doubling over the past two years,” said USL President Jake Edwards.
“Through this new initiative, we hope to create opportunities to identify and partner with the best licensees to deliver first-class products to our clubs’ fans across the country. We have already seen success in our partnership with Select as the official ball of the USL, and we look forward to Stu’s leadership in this important growth area for the league,” Edwards stated further.
The new program will look to streamline licenses for independent clubs to leverage opportunities of scale and deliver quality products for fans in each of the league’s markets.
“Interest in the program from the clubs and potential licensees thus far has been outstanding and speaks to the continued growth of the USL,” said Crystal, head of the Crystal Agency.
“In addition, we will work with each of the clubs both at the USL and eventually USL D3 level to implement best practices, ensuring a consistent delivery of quality licensed products to further grow fan engagement and provide additional revenue for the clubs.”
Crystal has spent the past 25 years in the licensing and marketing business for several major sports entities, including 12 years at MLS where he oversaw the league’s licensing program, including its first single supplier agreement with Adidas.
Crystal has also represented iconic athletes such as LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky for licensing programs through Upper Deck, as well as several prominent international soccer clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Real Madrid partnering with Edge Sports.