LAS VEGAS, May 24, 2018 – Three official NFL Players Association (NFLPA) licensees – StatMuse, Nike and The LANG Companiesare category winners of the fourth annual NFLPA Licensee of the Year Awards for 2018, it was announced today at the start of Licensing Expo.


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.


The complete list of category winners is below:

  • Best Breakout Product: StatMuse app featuring natural language processing
  • Best Player Activation: Nike’s in-store and hospitality in Minneapolis
  • Best Use of Group Player Rights: The LANG Companies’ online calendar customization platform


“Each year, we are excited to showcase the work of some of our most innovative NFLPA licensees and what they have done to feature more players in their product lines and marketing activities,” said Steve Scebelo, vice president of licensing and business development at NFL Players Inc.


StatMuse, the leader in natural language processing (NLP) for sports, launched its first app enabling fans to ask about scores, stats and more, and hear the answers straight from their favorite players. The initial release of the StatMuse app features the authentic voices of more than 25 NFL players. Additionally, the company announced a strategic investment and partnership with the NFLPA through the OneTeam Collective, the athlete-driven accelerator designed to give start-ups and early stage companies the opportunity to leverage the NFLPA’s exclusive group player rights in exchange for equity.


Through Nike’s in-store and hospitality activations in Minneapolis this past February, more than 20 players participated in interactive in-store appearances at Nike’s Mall of America location. The players designed custom jerseys, participated in meet-and-greets and shopped with fans.


The LANG Companies allowed fans to create customized online calendars using more than 300 unique player images and personalized photos as well as collegiate co-branded artwork.


“This is always a difficult process to determine the winners, because many of our more than 70 licensees are worthy of awards like this,” said Karen Austin, assistant vice president of licensing for NFL Players Inc. “The NFLPA, on behalf of all the players it represents, appreciates every licensee that goes the extra mile to bring fans and players together in fun and different ways.”


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 licensees’ positive development of the players’ intellectual property; and (5) the range of distribution and growth in annual financial performance.


Powered by NFL player licensed products via online and traditional retail outlets as reported by more than 70 licensees, the NFLPA ranked as the 37th largest global licensor by License! Global in 2017. Licensed product categories include men’s, women’s and youth game jerseys and T-shirts, wall decals, figurines, toys, matted and framed photos, vinyl collectibles, bobbleheads, ugly sweaters, plush dolls, drinkware, socks, mobile gaming, virtual goods, electronic device accessories, holiday ornaments and novelties, among others. NFLPA licensees generated retail sales exceeding $1.65 billion during the year.




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