Over the past few years, big sports leagues have taken giant strides towards turning themselves into global lifestyle brands through licensed sports merchandise. However, counterfeiting is a significant problem prevailing in the sports licensing industry. Counterfeiting typically happens when a company that does not have a licensing deal with a team, uses the team’s logo or players in unapproved ways. This may include producing and selling counterfeit jerseys, rugs with the team logo, or even illegally duplicating autographs of the players and coaches.
Counterfeiting can be detrimental to the licensing industry as a whole and experts believe that it can cost the industry millions of dollars every year. This is where sports licensing steps in as an exemplary method to curb the manufacturing of counterfeit products. The global licensed sports merchandise market is a fledgling market and currently accounts for nearly 10% of the global sports industry. The potential of this market too, is significant (it is expected to expand at a CAGR of 5.1% till 2023), as indicated by Research on Global Markets in their market research report on the subject. The positive sentiment on this market among analysts is mainly due to the growing popularity of sports and sports merchandise among women.
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Despite the men’s category currently holding the largest market share, the women’s segment is expected to witness a higher growth rate (5.5%) during the forecasted period. Women’s participation in sports has picked up over time - the last Olympics was perhaps the biggest example of the same. Out of the 11,000 athletes who took part in the 2016 Rio Olympics, 45% were women. The disparity is staggering when you compare this figure with the first modern Olympics held 120 years ago in Athens, where all 241 athletes were men. Moreover, the number of women playing sports regularly in England has reached an all-time high of 7.21 Mn. The number of women identified as sports fans has also increased drastically. On an average, across 24 major countries representing the Americas, Europe, and Asia, nearly 50% of women now claim to be either interested or very interested in sports, as against 69% of men. All major mainstream sportswear companies have started taking heed of this trend, and are now developing sports merchandise that cater to women.