Perhaps the most significant business topic this past holiday season was the rise of e-commerce and how “traditional retailers, brand owners and product marketers continue to adapt to changing consumer shopping patterns.” While these shifts affect all parts of the licensing business, nowhere are they more acutely felt than in sports.
Cole Gahagan, Chief Commercial Officer of Fanatics Inc., the global leader for sports licensed merchandise, will deliver the opening Keynote address at Licensing Expo 2017, sponsored by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) and owned and organized by UBM Americas. The Keynote session takes place on Tuesday, May 23 from 8-9am, and marks the start of Licensing Expo at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.
“Sports licensing is a significant driver in the overall growth of the $251.7 billion licensing industry and Fanatics is a key player at the heart of that expansion as it advances its e-commerce, physical footprint and manufacturing capabilities,” said LIMA President Charles Riotto. “We look forward to Cole sharing Fanatics’ perspective as a brand leader in this arena.”
“Licensing Expo is delighted to welcome Cole Gahagan as this year’s keynote speaker,” said Jessica Blue, Senior Vice President, Licensing, UBM. “Fanatics, once a major force in the e-commerce world, has now become one of the largest sports retailers in the world. We are excited to hear the Fanatics story and future strategy at Licensing Expo 2017.”
The market leader for authentic, officially licensed sports merchandise, Fanatics works with the major professional sports leagues as well as collegiate powerhouses. In addition, Fanatics has an extensive e-commerce business and operates brick-and-mortar locations for the National Basketball Association (NBA), track-side stores for NASCAR and in-stadium shops, including at Churchill Downs, at sports venues all across the country.
Gahagan is a career sports management executive with deep and varied experience leading large-scale businesses, and strategic growth for a host of organizations. He joined Fanatics in October 2016 to oversee the company’s strategy for new omni-channel growth opportunities and optimize service and support for its hundreds of professional and collegiate teams. Gahagan brings together a wide range of company capabilities, including e-commerce, apparel manufacturing and Fanatics’ rapidly-expanding in-venue and stadium business. His oversight helps ensure that the company’s partners can maximize the full range of growth opportunities available to them from Fanatics.
Prior to Fanatics, Gahagan was Chief Revenue Officer at Ticketmaster, where he was responsible for the company’s business throughout North America, and spearheaded its league-wide enterprise deals with the National Basketball Association, National Football League and National Hockey League. He joined Ticketmaster in 2010 following the company’s merger with Live Nation. Previous to his tenure there, he was Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategy for Live Nation e-commerce. Gahagan earned an undergraduate degree in marketing from Texas Christian University and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. In 2015, Gahagan was named by Billboard Magazine as one of the sports and entertainment industry’s Digital Power Players, and in 2016, was awarded the International Leaders in Sports Forty Under 40.
The Keynote address is part of the wide-ranging lineup of Licensing University™ educational programs organized by LIMA that begins Monday, May 22 and runs through Thursday, May 25. All of the sessions are designed to help attendees acquire new strategies, innovative ideas and practical solutions to help grow their business.