BLE Keynote: Elisabeth Allaman Unveils the IOC’s New Approach to Licensing

The International Olympic Committee’s Elisabeth Allaman delivered the official keynote address at Brand Licensing Europe on Wednesday inside The Licensing Academy, where she presented the IOC’s strategic new licensing approach.

In a dynamic session moderated by Steven Ekstract, brand director, global licensing group, UBM, attendees learned how the IOC is looking to exploit the upward tick in sports merchandise sales by making a major push into global licensing.

Historically, Olympic licensing was location-focused and mainly managed via the organizing committees in the host countries.

Today, the IOC plans to implement three core licensing programs that are designed to exponentially scale the organization’s consumer products offering globally. “We are ready for the challenge,” says Allaman, who serves as vice president of commercial integration at the IOC Television and Marketing Services.

The Olympic Games Collection, the most straightforward of the three core licensing programs, will be developed by the specific organizing committee in each host country (Tokyo 2020 is the next edition of the Summer Games). According to Allaman, the committees will develop their own look and program, will search for licensees and will organize various stores. This line of consumer products will include souvenirs, t-shirts, pins, mugs and other products sold during game time, sometimes via retail operations at the venue.

The Olympic Heritage Collection, on the other hand, will focus on the IOC’s rich history and will include high-end products aimed at fans and consumers who have a deep knowledge and appreciation of Olympics history. The Olympic Collection will be a fun, dynamic line of innovative products, geared mainly toward young people, according to Allaman.

This collection will be colorful and include products such as sports equipment and toys for kids, and it will also include products aimed at consumers with an active lifestyle. In June, the IOC announced a major licensing partnership with Lacoste¬–the first exclusive Olympic Heritage lifestyle apparel collection, available in 10 countries, which includes men’s clothing and reflects the graphic legacy of the Olympic Games.

“It’s quite a benchmark for us,” says Allaman about the success of the partnership, which sets the stage for future co-branding opportunities to further expand the IOC’s global licensing strategy. Allaman told attendees about the IOC’s plans to expand via the launch of its online Olympic Store in China at the end of 2018. “It’s quite a big step for us to really have a space in the e-commerce world,” says Allaman.

And after it secures more partnerships and increases its roster of consumer product offerings, the IOC plans to launch a robust online Olympic global store in late 2019/early 2020.

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