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Most Valuable Brands: Celebrity & Sports Top-Earners

On average, a licensed property will generate $7.53 million in retail sales a year within the U.S./Canada—according to data from TLL’s Annual Licensing Business Survey and the Licensing Sourcebook.

The most valuable brands—as determined by calculating the total number of properties owned by licensors in the Licensing Sourcebook relative to licensed retail sales in the U.S./Canada for 2016—are actually those categorized as celebrities/estates and sports leagues/colleges. Note that these categories have been combined in the retail sales calculations in order to allow for direct comparison between the Survey and Sourcebook.

And because I’ve counted only properties that are listed by licensors, it is more likely than not that the properties listed are relatively successful. For example, the average for “sports leagues/colleges” should be lower because the hundreds of institutions represented by agents are not counted. Even when the number of properties is inflated, however, the property type nevertheless ranks in at No. 2 on the list.

These figures should be read as the average retail sales generated by the most successful licensed properties in each type—with the exception of entertainment/character.

While A-list entertainment/character properties are some of the top-earning brands, on average (given the wide range of properties available for licensing) this type of property will drum up just $1.89 million worth of sales in a year. That is simply a function of the sheer number of entertainment/character properties, however—we count over 6,000 active licenseable properties from U.S./Canadian companies alone. Last year, 44 entertainment/character brands generated over $100 million in licensed retail sales each.

In part because there are fewer celebrity, estate, sports, and collegiate brands competing with one another in the same space, these select properties are the highest-earners on average.

On the other hand, licensing based on traditional toys/games as well as video games/interactive/online will see a greater number of properties competing in a smaller space.


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