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Licensing Expo Putting on Big Show With Immersive Entertainment Offerings

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

Licensing Expo is leaning into its experiential licensing theme this year, offering multiple immersive entertainment offerings.

The Licensing Expo, produced in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International, returns to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center this May 24–26.

This year, perhaps in reaction to the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Expo is focused on location-based experiences (LBE), particularly immersive, IP-based experiences that bring favorite characters and brands to life.

“We landed on the theme of location-based experiences in order to strategically align with society’s transition from product-focused to experience-centric behaviors,” said Anna Knight, SVP of the Global Licensing Group, organizers of Licensing Expo. “More than ever before, people develop profoundly strong connections with the brands and content they engage with daily; LBE enables IP-owners to foster an even deeper connection that lays the groundwork for a loyal fanbase. We’re so excited to showcase the power and potential of LBE and be a catalyst for its adoption across the globe.”

Of the 200+ exhibitors confirmed to date, organizers say many brands are showcasing their foray into LBE at Licensing Expo in search of new licensees, manufacturers, and retailer partners that will help bring their IP-based experiences to life.

So, where to go to see the latest and greatest in immersive entertainment.

Some of the most promising spots for Expo fun … uh … I mean research … are the booths for Hasbro, Falcon’s Beyond, NAFTOS and Feld Entertainment. All four companies are going beyond the booth by transforming them into IP-based entertainment destinations.

Hasbro

At Hasbro’s Experience booth, the company will be previewing the Transformers: VR Battle Arena with Meta4 Interactive which enables players to play as a Transformers robot in a virtual reality world.

Players can choose from heroic Autobots such as Bumblebee and Optimus Prime or Decepticons such as Megatron and Soundwave. Once inside the game, each player will become a part of a legendary battle.

Hasbro will also be showcasing inspiration from other LBE initiatives around the world with a sampling of mini experiences inspired by:

    • My Little Pony & Transformers X Marriott Autograph Collection, Shanghai, the first of its kind, a Transformers and My Little Pony-themed Hotel outfitted with a Family Entertainment Center, is opening in Shanghai in Q4, 2022. The Hotel features 46 themed rooms operated by Marriott within their Autograph collection.
    • Monopoly Life-sized and Top Hat Restaurant & Bar, London, guests immerse themselves in the world-famous game of Monopoly to compete in challenges, build houses, charge rent, escape jail and even control London’s waterworks as they travel around the life-sized board earning as much money as they can.
    • Nerf Challenge, North America (touring) the ultimate Nerf playground, is currently touring North America. Among the many interactive activations to experience are Tryathlon, Nerfhoop Doubleshot, Colossal Football, Field Goal, Dodge Blast, Strange Cargo, and much more! With thousands of blasters and millions of darts, this immersive experience is every NERF fan’s dream come to life.
    • NAX, Singapore, the NERF Action Xperience family entertainment center brings the NERF brand to life through fun-filled experiences in an indoor arena packed with multiple-themed activity zones, incorporating NERF sports and blasters that are directed towards igniting adrenaline, inspiring empowerment, fostering connections, and fueling your freedom.

“The demand for authentic, engaging, and exciting experiences has never been higher,” says Matt Proulx, the VP of Location Based Entertainment at Hasbro. “Fans of all ages can now uncover new ways to connect with the brands they love. We’re excited to demo the Transformers: VR Battle Arena with our partners at Meta4 Interactive at our booth this year.

“We hope everyone can stop by and have a glimpse into the potential of LBE (Location Based Entertainment),” he added.

Falcon’s Beyond

Falcon’s Beyond is an experiential entertainment specialist, as the builder of the Katmandu theme park in Spain, with another on the way in the Dominican Republic. Attendees can get a taste of Falcon’s magic at booth U188 with a tour of Falcon’s X-Lab.

The X-Lab will offer a 20-minute demonstration of a handful of Falcon’s ground-breaking products by appointment. These include SpectraVerse™, Falcon’s Vision®, ON!X™ Theater, and other exciting, themed attraction systems leveraging real-time gaming technologies and metaverse integrations.

“We have already helped many of the world’s most iconic brands connect with their audience to build fandom at a whole new level,” said Cecil D. Magpuri, CEO of Falcon’s Beyond. “We cannot wait to showcase our experiential entertainment innovations and new themed destinations in development that will enable brands to take the connection with their desired audiences to new heights well `beyond’ what they could ever imagine.”

NAFTOS

If you want to learn more about NFTs and their application in the metaverse, check out NAFTOS, which has a lobby display at Expo this year, and will also be in Executive Suite D101.

A newcomer to Expo, NAFTOS is an industry leader in minting 2D, 3D, and 3D interactive NFTs. Their booth aims to take the mystery out of digital collectibles by showcasing actual NFT creations on the exhibition floor at the entrance of the show, booth D3. Companies interested in learning more about NFTs and the metaverse for their brands can schedule an appointment with NAFTOS at Executive Suite D101 on the show floor.

“We are honored to become a key exhibiter at the Licensing Expo to showcase our expertise in NFTs and the Metaverse,” said Barry Rosenbaum, CEO and President of NAFTOS. “Our highly experienced team employs the newest technology to create dynamic interactive NFTs, unlike any others.”

Feld Entertainment

Looking for a little more action? If so, visit the Feld Entertainment booth at A209, where the company will be showing off its monster truck-themed Grave Digger Simulator Ride Experience, created in partnership with DOF Robotiks.

This stand-alone attraction allows attendees to experience what it is like to take a ride in a Monster Jam truck. The simulator offers a range of movement on a six-axis platform featuring pitch, roll and yaw movements. The realistic motion is combined with exciting video delivered through VR headsets, which makes it an unforgettable ride.

“We are thrilled to have one of our Feld Entertainment location-based entertainment activations on site for attendees to experience during the upcoming LE,” said Jeff Bialosky, Senior Vice President Global Partnerships, Feld Entertainment. “The Monster Jam Grave Digger simulator displayed and operating in Booth #A209 will give those who are brave enough to ride it the true feeling of being behind the wheel of a 12,000-pound, 1500 HP Monster Jam truck.”

Refreshments

In addition to these immersive exhibitor experiences, visitors can visit the new Sports Bar and Toy Café to discover new products and be inspired by best-in-class examples from both categories. Confirmed participants include:

  • Sports Bar: Major League Baseball Players, Inc., NFL Players Inc., NASCAR, NFL Int’l, WWE and Motul
  • Toy Café: Hasbro, Inc., Mattel, Inc., MGA Entertainment, Spin Master, WildBrain CPLG, Jazwares, Brand Activation Consulting
  • Art & Design Lounge: Art Brand Studios, Giordano Studios, Jewel Branding & Licensing, Inc., Mitchell Black Wallpaper, Tate & Co Licensing, Artestar

Experiential Licensing: Former Marvel President Joins Board At Falcon’s Beyond Global

Licensing Expo Keynote To Focus On Experiential Entertainment


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