opendorse was in attendance at the 2015 Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center January 14-16. Over 350 booth exhibitors showcasing various licensee products from family owned novelty apparel products, to some of the game’s biggest brands, including FatHead, Majestic and Upper Deck, were in attendance. The show offered the perfect platform for interface with licensee decision makers as well as introductions to dozens of new products that are marketable for professional athletes.
New brands included a Seattle based sock company called Strideline Socks, a quality sock brand that various Seattle Seahawks players, including Marshawn Lynch, have been known to wear in games. Another exciting brand attendee is MLB licensee and St. Louis based shirt maker, 108 Stiches, a product endorsed by Atlanta Braves pitcher, Jason Grilli.
Wednesday night’s opening party sponsored by the NFL Players Inc. offered an opportunity for the opendorse team to converse with soon-to-be former NFL Players Inc. President, Keith Gordon, about the multibillion dollar business of sports licensees and the future of its industry. Gordon, a longtime supporter of opendorse founder Blake Lawrence, is leaving the NFL Players Inc. at the end of February and will be replaced by Ahmad Nassar.
The Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show themselves went digital, joining the growing trend of trade shows designing their own proprietary app, encouraging attendees to connect on the social networks using #SLTShow.
The award for Best New Sports Licensed Product went to Fanatic Lights while Best Sports Licensed Apparel Item award went to Athlitacomics Sports Heroes Shirts, a company founded and ran by 10-year NFL Veteran Israel Idonije.
On the morning of the final day, Steve Scebelo, VP of Licensing and Business Development for the NFL Players Inc. presented a break out seminar titled: Tap Into The Power of NFL Players. Scebelo touched on the Activate partnership powered by the opendorse solution and the growing trend of digital spend licensees looking to drive ecommerce and retail sales while generating brand awareness. Also in attendance at the seminar was New York Giants running back, and opendorse athlete, Rashad Jennings, who spoke about his path to NFL stardom as a 7th round draft pick out of Liberty University, eluding to his many off field talents including the ability to perform magic tricks and his self-taught ability to play the guitar.
Even as the NFL season comes to a close, the 2015 SLTS show was a friendly reminder that in the endorsement and sports business, there is no offseason.