Given the growing popularity of sports and sports leagues beyond cricket, more sporting brands are getting well-deserved support and exposure, narrates Archana Keskar, Senior Director Consumer Products Licensing & Retail, India for WWE in a candid interaction with License India. She added that the portfolio of larger than life Superstars at WWE expands licensing possibilities beyond just sports merchandise. Talk to us about the journey of WWE with brand licensing. For consumer products, WWE is a $1 billion brand at retail and we work with more than 200 licensees across 85 countries. Our products are available on 16 major e-commerce sites. In addition, WWE is the best-selling video game franchise and our last five mobile games debuted on top grossing charts with 70 million installs worldwide. Branded Consumer Products is a significant part of the overall WWE experience and licensing allows us to work with category experts in all markets and extend the WWE brand to many more product categories, promotions and experiences. What made you think of India as a potential market for WWE? India is a priority market for WWE with a massive and passionate fan base that consumes content across all platforms. Given the immense response from the market, it is important that we create branded product lines best suited to the market. So far, our successful releases are: console game from 2K; trading cards from Topps; mobile games with Scopely, WB, and Reliance Games; and our online WWEShop.in in partnership with The Souled Store that showcases authentic WWE merchandise. Also, an exciting range of WWE toys from Mattel and collectible figures from Funko is ready to launch now. Beyond this, we are actively looking for appropriate partners across multiple product and experience categories. With fan following equally strong across the 6-14 year olds and 15-25 year old young adult segment, product range possibilities are immense. What immediate categories are you eyeing at for WWE? Apparel, both for the youth and kids segments, is important and we are in active discussions with apparel companies. Beyond this, we are evaluating partners for fashion accessories, bags, gifting range, footwear, consumer electronics, stationery, and even promotional licensing associations with F&B brands. What is your take on sports licensing as a potential category for Indian market? Licensing grows with the increase in popularity of specific sports and sports leagues. Licensing, of course, is a great tool to build relationships with supporters. As the support grows and fans can access content on multiple platforms, demand for sports branded merchandise will only increase. At WWE we have larger than life Superstars that are both athletes and entertainers, including John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Triple H, just to name a few. This expands licensing possibilities beyond just Sports merchandise.
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