With some of the major sports brands taking the licensing and merchandising route to enhance their sales, awareness about sports licensing has certainly gone up, says Akash Chopra, Former India opener and author of Beyond the Blue during a conversation with License India. Which product categories are the brands exploring for sports licensing? Different things appeal to different audiences. For instance, while targeting the youth, the merchandise, in my opinion, which will be a hit, would be T-shirts, caps, shoes, and health drinks etc. While to entice kids stationary items would fit the bill. Licensing is a new concept in India. How should it be promoted to bring about awareness in the country? The awareness has certainly gone up in the past couple of years as some of the major sports brands have taken the licensing and merchandising route to enhance their sales. The soccer fans in the country are already well aware of it, especially those who frequently visit foreign countries. For instance, I know a hoard of fans who are possessive about their Liverpool T-shirts. It is basically the lack of awareness among the consumers that such a thing is available in the market that is acting as bottleneck to the concept gaining momentum. Whenever a retailer comes up with sports merchandise he/she must make sure to promote it well and as I mentioned earlier make it easily available. As the organised retail expands to the interiors the concept will become a fad. What is the scope of sports licensing in India? How can retailers benefit from it? There is surely a lot that can happen with respect to sports licensing in the country as there is an array of new properties keeping in view the IPL. We are definitely replicating the West that offers premium products. The points that retailers should keep in mind to leverage the concept is mainly that the merchandise should be cheap, that is, affordable and must be easily available to the sports fans across the country What is your take on sports licensing in India? Sports licensing, definitely, generates revenue in a big way. Reaching out to the right TG is of utmost importance. The cost sensitive consumers should be taken care of otherwise there won’t be many takers, initially. It will take some time to reach to its next level. Which sports brands are into licensing or showing inclination towards licensing? There are brands like Reebok, which has an arrangement with Kolkata Knight Riders and Adidas has a similar deal with Mumbai Indians. The target audience remains to be the young sports enthusiasts, mainly men. Not to mention, gradually the kids and women are also joining the bandwagon with the popularity of Twenty20 cricket format. I can only comment regarding cricket, I do not think I am the right person to speak about other sports.
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