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How Paul Sparrow, managing director, licensing and consumer products, NASCAR, built a winning licensing career and consumer products program for the NASCAR brand.
June 30, 2022
The National Association for Stock Car Racing, or NASCAR, is a multifaceted property. It’s entertainment, automotive, sport, celebrity and lifestyle – all rolled into one. Since its first race in 1948, the brand has made its way to thousands of licensed goods.
License Global had a chance to speak with Paul Sparrow, managing director, licensing and consumer products, NASCAR, to discuss the brand’s role in the licensing world, his journey in the licensing industry and more.
License Global: How did you get your start in licensing?
Paul Sparrow: I had a degree in business with a concentration in accounting, but the savings and loan crisis killed the banking job market. I had a job offer from a retailer in Cleveland called Higbee’s and I took it. I moved over to sales and went to Carter’s, which led to a job in New York to run a division of OshKosh B’gosh, one of Carter’s competitors at the time.
The company did just an amazing amount of licensed product for “The Lion King,” “Toy Story,” all the [Disney] princesses, Warner Bros., “Space Jam,” Batman, Super-man, Spider-Man, “Rugrats” and all the Nickelodeon stuff. “Barney” was another big one. We couldn’t make enough Barney product. If it was to be had, we had it in our arsenal, and one of the licenses we had was the NFL.
As part of that, I did have the NFL as one of my licensors, and a friend worked over there. He ran the consumer products group and called me one day and said, “We’ve got an opening in our licensing division. Are you interested?”
In sports licensing, it’s a pretty tight group. You get to know the industry well. I got to know the NASCAR folks, and they made me an off er to come down to Charlotte, N.C., 19 years ago.
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