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How to License Sports Associations for Your Product

The baseball cap-shaped computer mouse was an invention by Bob Diee. That made him $1.5 million in sales in 2007 alone. A success by all accounts, but it wasn’t just the idea itself that made the product so successful. Just as important and just as instrumental in his success was another idea. He had – to obtain the license from the minor, major and even university baseball teams and include their logos on the mice. So not only could a baseball fan enjoy the novelty of a mouse shaped like a piece of sporting paraphernalia from their favorite sport, but they could also use it to support their favorite team and demonstrate their support. It helped to get the product into many more stores and gained it tons more coverage. And generally provided as a springboard to guaranteed success.

It’s an inspiring story and it begs a simple question. Could you use licensing in a similar way to help your product to sell? Let’s take a look…

Is Your Product a Good Fit?

Before you start chasing down license agreements for your product, ask yourself whether your product is suitable for this kind of licensing. Is it at all relevant to the sport? Or is it something that someone is going to be willing to pay money for? Is it something simple with a clear market? Does it have an easy space where a team name could be printed? Remember too that it’s not just sports teams that will license. You can also get licenses from TV shows, computer game characters, theme parks and more. Make sure that the license is relevant to your offering though, and that it’s well-known and popular enough to give your product a boost.

Approaching the Teams

When Dee first had the idea for the mouse, he approached the larger teams with no success. It was only once he approached the minor leagues that the idea was accepted. And it was from there that he was able to get into the major leagues.

This is something worth considering when trying to get your license. Don’t pin all your hopes on one team or one company and don’t get disheartened. If you can secure a relatively small deal, to begin with, then this could provide you with the proof-of-concept needed to persuade the bigger fish.

You should also make sure that you get your pitch right, to begin with. You are able to put across your passion for the idea and how it stands to benefit everyone involved (rather than just your product and not the team or the sport). Have a working prototype to show off, calculate the cost of production and the RRP (you need a solid business plan that includes a percentage of the organization). And do your market research to prove that your idea is popular. It’s the account manager for licensing for each organization that you will need to speak with, so try and learn as much about them as you can as well.


Once you’ve landed a deal your next step is to try and market your product and get it into the right retail outlets. Your new licensing is going to open up many more avenues in this respect. So make sure that you’ve approached the sports stores as well as the hardware stores etc. You can sell through team magazines likewise or even at stadiums. With the branding on your products, you should find that

they’re far more desirable and much more eye-catching. It should be more than worth the effort you put in to secure the deal.

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