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Royalty Profile for Sports-based Licensed Merchandise


Sector value, U.S. & Canada, 2017: $15.92 billion

Proportion of retail sales of licensed merchandise, U.S. & Canada, 2017: 14.6%

Average royalty, U.S. & Canada, 2018: 10.11%

Royalty range, U.S. & Canada, 2018: 5%–19%

Average royalty, U.S. & Canada, (10 years) 2009–2018: 10.00%


Sports and collegiate were the only two property types, other than celebrity and entertainment, to hit 10% average royalty rates in the last couple of years. For some, however, royalty rates were boosted even further as large-scale exclusive deals were developed within major categories such as video games and on- and off-field apparel.

That kind of arrangement raises the royalty rate a point or two more, and also generates a higher guarantee and generally higher marketing commitments on the part of the licensee.

Some categories, such as trading cards, involve multiple royalties—for player likenesses as well as league and team logos—that can drive the total royalty to 18%–20%. Similarly, most NASCAR- licensed goods involve paying about 10% to the driver and team, and another 2% to NASCAR, whose logo acts essentially as a seal of authenticity.

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