Here’s a list of 21 things to see, do and enjoy as this year’s event returns in person.

License Global

November 12, 2021

5 Min Read

Brand Licensing Europe kicks off in less than a week, and 2021 marks the 21st edition of BLE, running Nov. 17-19 at ExCeL London. Attendees can register now for a free ticket from and start requesting meetings and planning their diary.  

“There is SO much happening at BLE 2021, it was hard to stop at 21,” says Anna Knight, vice president, licensing, Informa Markets. “We can’t wait to be at ExCeL this weekend to prepare to welcome everyone back next week and reconnect the European licensing industry for the first time in over two years.” 

  1. Going for Gold: Team GB kicks off with a live keynote conversation from Olympic gold medalists Tom Daley and Charlotte Worthington, alongside Tim Ellerton (Team GB) and Will Stewart (The Point.1888). Hear the athletes talk about their journeys to Tokyo and a panel debate on building the Team GB brand and their unique approach to brand licensing with sports fans and communities in mind. The keynote takes place Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 4pm (GMT) in the Platinum Suite of ExCeL London. 

  2. Color for Kelvyn: Join us as we wear bright clothes and create a rainbow of color for Kelvyn Gardner on Day 2 – Thursday, Nov. 18. His family will join Knight at 9 a.m. to officially open the show. Donations to The Light Fund will be gratefully accepted on stand C155. 

  3. Paws for Thought: Meet and cuddle some of the Battersea dogs as they help you relax and smile. They can be found alongside ice cream treats on the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home stand C201. You can also meet two pups and two adult dogs from Guide Dogs for the Blind on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Visit Bulldog Licensing at stand A182. 

  4. Sports, Illustrated: The super cool astro-turfed Sports Zone features UEFA Club Competitions, Manchester City FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Olympique de Marseille, Tour de France and Dakar, NBA, Federation Francaise de Football, England Football, FC Porto, Federacâo Portuguesa de Futebol, RFEF, Dependable Solutions, Rugby World Cup 2023, SCRIBOS and Superclub. 

  5. ‘What’s Next’ in Retail: Six brilliant retail-only sessions will be held at the Retail Trends Lounge to challenge and inspire, including Buyers Eye and Nextail Labs, Kids Industries, Hasbro and George @ Asda, The Style Sisters, The Insights Family and Black Lives Matter Licensing Movement. 

  6. Get a Selfie with the "Fluffs": BLE’s character parade, featuring the likes of The Snowman, The Smurfs, Minions and The Gruffalo, will be back in style at 11:30 a.m. on Days 1 and 2. Follow the parade as the characters wander through the halls for the annual photo opp. 

  7. Celebrate Licensing’s Next Gen: The finale of this year’s Kelvyn Gardner License This! competition takes place on Day 3 at 12 p.m. in the Retail Trends Lounge. Everyone is welcome to join the nine finalists as they battle it out to win one of three trophies – Brand & Design, Character & Animation and Product Design.  

  8. And Breathe...: Take five in the Health & Wellbeing Lounge in the Sustainability Activation or Health & Wellbeing Café on stand E131, where you can find peace, quiet and healthy drinks and snacks. 

  9. Go Green: The BLE Sustainability Activation on stand A131, in partnership with Products of Change, is inspired by the brands including Natural History Museum, Tesco and Dreamtex. See dedicated spaces from Eden Project and George @ Asda, discover more from Teemill and its commitment to the circular economy, material innovation inspiration from Wastebuster and Ecoalf and sign up for a one-to-one clinic with PoC.  

  10. Swap Shop: Bring a preloved piece of licensed clothing and a donation for The Light Fund and swap it for something new to you in the Newlife Charity Branded Clothes Swap in the Sustainability Activation.

  11. Walk the Floor: There are close to 200 exhibitors taking part in BLE 2021, so make sure you take time to walk the vibrant, colorful show floor and visit the likes of Hasbro, CAA-GBG, Crunchyroll, Magic Light Pictures, The National Gallery, Moomin, NBA, Chupa Chups, SEGA, Perry Ellis International, Sophie La Girafe, V&A, ViacomCBS, WWE, Banijay Brands, BANDAI NAMCO Europe, Crunchyroll, Rights & Brands, Wildbrain CPLG and many more.  

  12. Drinks Are on Us: Join BLE and Licensing International for Welcome Back drinks between 5-7 p.m. on Day 1 at the Crunchyroll Bar, BLE Bar and Motul Café on the show floor.  

  13. Style Sisters: Come and meet celebrities’ most trusted duo, Style Sisters, on Day 2. Hear their story, grab one of 40 giveaway copies of their book and enter for a chance to win a wardrobe detox. You can hear their session in the Retail Lounge at 2:15 p.m. and join them for a meet and greet at the BLE Bar at 2:45 p.m. 

  14. Diversity and Inclusion in Toys and Licensing: ViacomCBS will present the Day 2 keynote at 1 p.m. in the Platinum Suite, where they’ll be referencing new D&I research across the toy category. Note that access to both keynotes this year is on a first come, first serve basis.  

  15. "Who’s Next" in Licensing: Don’t miss The Influentials: Agents of Change gallery featured at entrances S2 and S4, which previews those named in the December issue of License Global magazine.

  16. Art Attack: Meet the winners of last year’s License This! competition and exciting artists and illustrators in the BLE Art & Design Zone, including eejits, Ginger Betty, Kate Mawdlsey, Vicki Thomas Associates, Ideas & Inks, Siobhan at April Rose and Scatterbrain Studios.  

  17. Roll Cameras, Action: License Global TV is making its BLE debut and is looking to speak to retailers, brand owners and licensees about "what’s next" in licensing. Keep an eye out for our roving reporters! 

  18. Licensing U: Are you a licensing newbie? Upgrade your BLE registration to include Licensing U, your essential course to understand the licensing industry. Take a trip to the Licensing International stand B121 – the industry trade association will be able to provide more information. 

  19. Sustainability Launch: Obki on Sky Kids will be a leading force in driving the sustainability agenda on a global platform through a series of worldwide licensing deals via newly signed licensing agency the Radius Group. Launching on Day 1, Obki will bring together the most sustainable companies to curate a range of brand lifestyle products, including apparel, plush, toys, food and publishing for children. See the launch at the Sustainability Activation at A131. 

  20. Arrive in Style: Visit the online travel center to find out everything you need to travel to BLE smoothly and safely. If you need to book a Day 2 test to enter England, you can find the details  here

  21. Be COVID-safe: Don’t forget to bring your face mask and COVID-19 pass or negative lateral flow test result to enjoy a safe show. 

Be sure to register for Brand Licensing Europe here! 

Read more about:

Brand Licensing Europe

About the Author(s)

License Global

License Global is the leading news source for the brand licensing industry, delivering award-winning editorial content including news, trends, analysis, and special reports about the global consumer product and retail marketplace.

Through its print edition, website, daily e-newsletter and event publications, License Global reaches more than 150,000 executives and professionals in all major markets. The magazine also serves as the official publication for the sector’s trade events, which include Licensing Expo, Brand Licensing Europe, Licensing Expo Japan, Licensing Expo Shanghai and the Licensing Leadership Summit.

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