LAS VEGAS, May 23, 2017 – Six official NFL Players Association (NFLPA) licensees – EA SPORTS, Fanatics, Forever Collectibles, SportsManias, Team Spirit Store and Topps Digital – are category winners of the third annual NFLPA Licensee of the Year Awards for 2017, it was announced today at the start of Licensing Expo.
The complete list of category winners is below:
- Best Breakout Product (Digital): SportsManias Emoji Keyboard
- Best Breakout Product (Apparel/Hardlines): Fanatics Emoji Tees
- Best Player Activation (Large): Topps HUDDLE AMC “Walking Dead” Cross-Promotion
- Best Player Activation (Mid to Small): Team Spirit Store Phoenix program
- Best Product Featuring More than 100 Players (Large Business): EA SPORTS
- Best Product Featuring More than 100 Players (Midsize to Small Business): Forever Collectibles
“It’s great to shine a light on the outstanding efforts by our licensees to integrate a growing number of players into the marketing of NFLPA licensed products,” said Steve Scebelo, vice president of licensing and business development at NFL Players Inc. “This year’s winners, representing companies big and small in categories ranging from apparel and hardlines to digital, have gone above and beyond and the results speak for themselves.”
The NFLPA, via its licensing and marketing arm, NFL Players Inc., launched the awards to honor the NFLPA licensees that have demonstrated the most successful and creative use of group player rights within the past year.
“We could highlight any number of our more than 80 licensees, but the winning companies this year put such great effort into creatively marketing their products to fans,” said Karen Austin, assistant vice president of licensing for NFL Players Inc. “Our players certainly take notice and appreciate any partner that goes deep into rosters to provide opportunities for more players to connect with fans.”
A panel comprised of NFLPA executives judged entrants on five criteria: (1) number of unique players featured within the licensees’ product lines; (2) the marketing and promotional activations that featured players throughout the year; (3) creativity and innovation in product development; (4) the businesses’ positive development of the players’ intellectual property; and (5) the range of distribution and growth in annual financial performance.
“This is an exciting time to be involved with marketing athletes across the digital and virtual space,” said Amanda Shank, senior manager of digital and unconventional licensing at NFL Players Inc. “This year’s winning licensees are incorporating more players into products in truly innovative ways to engage with their fans.”
Powered by NFL player licensed products via online and traditional retail outlets as reported by more than 80 licensees, the NFLPA ranked as the 36th largest global licensor by License! Global in 2016. Product categories include men’s, women’s and youth game jerseys and t-shirts, wall decals, figurines, toys, matted and framed photos, ugly sweaters, bobbleheads, drinkware, socks, mobile gaming, virtual goods, electronic device accessories, holiday ornaments and novelties, among others. NFLPA licensees generated retail sales exceeding $1.5 billion during the year.