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From Dream to Reality

Experts in location-based entertainment gathered to discuss the power of licensing in their industry.

License Global

May 26, 2022

2 Min Read
Day 2's keynote panel.Licensing Expo

The keynote for Day 2 of Licensing Expo 2022 was “From Dream to Reality: The Power of Licensing for Location-Based Entertainment.” The panel, moderated by George Wade, president, Bay Laurel Advisors, brought together the most respected visionaries in the industry for a trend-driven presentation. Panelists included Cecil D. Magpuri, chief executive officer and co-founder, Falcon's Beyond; Stacie Cohen, senior director, global branded attractions, National Basketball Association; Susan Vargo, head, live events and location-based experiences, Moonbug Entertainment and Stacy Moscatelli, co-president and chief strategy officer, Superfly X. 

The panel discussed what to consider when developing and executing a location-based experience deal (including how best to protect brand integrity). The discussion highlighted location-based experiences over the decades and how they’ve transformed to fit the desires of consumers. The discussion covered non-licensed LBEs like the Rainforest Café and City Walk before delving into licensed deals like the “Friends” experience and the upcoming Curiosity Playground, a collaboration between Falcon’s Beyond and Moonbug. The keynote covered a breadth of different iterations of this cyclical trend. 

“The experience economy is starting to roar back,” says Vargo. 

The location-based experience market is experiencing a boom after the COVID-19 lockdowns, with fans wanting more than anything to experience life again – and their favorite IPs. These experiences, now more than ever, offer unique value to a fanbase. 

“Our ultimate fan experience is our live games, but out of hundreds of millions of fans around the world, less than 1% actually get to go to those games,” says Cohen. “Location-based experiences can bring a lifetime of value to a fan. That authentic experience is the difference between bringing in a lifelong fan or turning them away from the brand.” 

But how does a location-based experience guarantee value to its patrons? The main secret: authenticity. It’s important to make the experiences as true to the theme or intellectual property as possible. 

“What a brand brings to the table for LBE is fandoms that you can tap and leverage,” says Moscatelli. “What our licensors bring is they know the brand very well and the audience very well. It’s the perfect marriage.” 

To create a truly successful location-based experience, brands should focus on fully leveraging the IP: expanding the experience for holiday activations, traveling around the country to create urgency and more. 

“Not all LBEs are leveraging existing IPs,” says Magpuri. “[To do well,] you kind of have to be an IP whisperer, if you will.” 

If you missed the keynote, check it out on-demand on the Licensing Expo online platform. 

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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