Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show Wrap-Up

Jan 31, 2017

The Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show, the premier event for brand owners, licensors, licensees and retailers of sports licensed merchandise, came together in Las Vegas on January 17-19 for three days of order writing, deal making, education and networking, showing why sports fan merchandise represents $22 billion in retail sales and is one of the fastest growing market segments according to the Licensing Letter.

The show welcomed over 380 exhibitors and thousands of retailers. Exhibiting companies hold the licenses for professional, collegiate and all other sports teams and is the only show of its kind to target the sports merchandise and tailgating market.

The 2017 show drew nearly 2,000 key buyers and decision makers to preview the latest in sports licensed gear, apparel, home goods and gifts. Representatives from Academy Sports & Outdoors,, Belk Inc., Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dunham’s Sports, Fanatics, Hibbett Sports, JC Penney, Kohl’s Corp, Lids, Maurice Sporting Goods, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Pottery Barn Teen, Rally House, Staples, Wal-Mart, Zulily and many more in attendance.

Over 80 universities and colleges were also in attendance to find the latest in licensed gear, including University of Notre Dame, Texas A & M University, University of Southern California, Indiana University, Vanderbilt University, The Ohio State University and Michigan State University, among others.

The show has experienced double-digit growth over the past several years. Exhibitors include brands like, Fanmade-Coveroo, Skinit, In the Sports Zone, R and R Imports Inc, American Mills, Nations Hangers and OCJ Apparel. There were also 110 first-time exhibitors this year, including: Minky Couture, Rustic Marlin Designs, Society 43, Stance, Lucky Explorers, Reed Candle Company and Dreamseat LLC/Xzipit. These brands represent all product categories – apparel, accessories, home goods, gift items, pet products, footwear, stationery, baby products and much more.

Exhibiting leagues included NBA Properties, Collegiate Licensing Company, NHL, NASCAR, Fermata Partners, Learfield Licensing Partners and Chelsea Football Club. NFL Players Association also had a presence in the Sideline Skills Zone where attendees could meet NFL players and test their passing skills in this new activation. NFLPA also sponsored the show’s Opening Night Party.

The show hosted its first ever Industry Breakfast and Keynote, which drew more than 200 attendees.

The Keynote speaker was Bill Battle, Athletic Director and founder of The Collegiate Licensing Company. Two other educational sessions were organized by LIMA, The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association. In the first seminar, Trends and Numbers: A Look at Sports and Licensing, Marty Brochstein, SVP industry Relations and Information at LIMA, shared the results of LIMA’s latest Annual Licensing Business Survey, as well as responses to its end of year flash survey of licensing executives, to spotlight the state of the business and the challenges and opportunities facing the industry going forward. The final session, The View From Retail, was an open-ended discussion between three retailers about their challenges and successes from the past year. Panelists were: Derek Friedman of Sports Fan who operates five retail locations in the Denver, CO market; Brian Skurdal representing Menard’s; and Cameron Beck, Campus Store Manager at the University of Utah.

“The Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show continues to grow and provide a valuable platform for this changing business,” said Pat Hus, Vice President and Show Director. “Lots of business was done at this year’s show, which I think is a sign of the strength of the industry as a whole.”

Registration for the 2018 Sports Licensing and Tailgate show is scheduled to open in the fall. The show will take place January 23-25, 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall.

Those interested in exhibiting at the 2018 show can contact Matt Lawson at