Licensing U to Highlight Trending Issues

Long-running educational series will feature sessions on collectibles, food and beverage, sports licensing and more.

The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association has unveiled the Licensing University lineup for Licensing Week, taking place in conjunction with Licensing Expo, featuring a variety of sessions from professionals in every aspect of the industry.

This year’s program will target everything from the latest issues and trends to the fundamentals of how the licensing business works.

Licensing University will be held May 22-25 in Las Vegas, Nev., in conjunction with Licensing Week May 22-25, which is owned and organized by UBM and sponsored by LIMA. Licensing Expo will open on May 23.

“Our Licensing University program is an invaluable resource that provides attendees with access to important information on a variety of topics that are fundamental to their organizations,” says Charles Riotto, president, LIMA. “The many sessions and roundtable discussions also provide participants with the opportunity to connect with other industry professionals, opening the door to new collaborations and partnerships that can take their business to the next level.”

Kicking off Licensing University is Cole Gahagan, chief commercial officer, Fanatics, who will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday, May 23, at 8 a.m. Fanatics is at the nexus of the sports licensing business as an e-retailer, physical retailer and licensee; and Gahagan will highlight the rapidly changing retail landscape.

Other highlights of this year’s Licensing University roster include:

  • Basics of Sports Licensing–Attendees will learn how to integrate sports into their product portfolio and what the growth potential is for local, national and international consumers, and more. Moderator: Steve Scebelo, vice president, licensing and business development, NFL Players Inc.
  • Brand and Consumer Research: How to Do It, What’s Out There and Doing It on a Budget–A presentation covering simple to complex tools and techniques for finding information. Moderator: Leigh Anne Schwarzkopf, founding partner, Project Partners Network
  • Building an Entertainment Licensing Program from Scratch–A session on who, what, where, when and why to develop and launch a merchandising program and its potential consequences. Moderator: Russell Brown, product and promotions, Valiant Entertainment
  • Case Studies in Food & Beverage Brand Licensing–A panel discussion featuring leaders from different corners of the food and beverage licensing spectrum. Moderator: Ricky Yoselevitz, vice president, brand licensing, Seltzer Licensing Group.
  • Everything You Need to Know About Royalty Rates–An in-depth look at royalty rates, the lifeblood of licensing programs. Attendees will learn the ins and outs necessary to sustain and grow their business. Moderator: Maura Regan, executive vice president, LIMA
  • Managing an Overnight Sensation–An overview focusing on the collectible toy brand, Shopkins. The discussion will include how to successfully manage licensees, creative and product development strategies, and the challenges that arise from managing an in-demand property. Moderator: Mallory Van Laeken, director, brand management, The Licensing Shop
  • Planning and Executing Your Social Media Strategy–A workshop providing the latest stats, insights and trends on where social media is today and where it is going. Presenter: Natalie Cupps DiBlasi, co-founder and executive director, digital marketing media and strategy, Laced Agency
  • The Changing Landscape of Digital Entertainment–A discussion about the video game and digital entertainment landscape and how to navigate the many choices an entertainment or corporate brand holder has to understand and make. Moderator: Mark Caplan, principal, BD Labs

“This year’s extensive Licensing University calendar demonstrates our commitment to providing members of the industry with key learning opportunities at all levels of experience,” says Jessica Blue, senior vice president, licensing, UBM. “The goal is for participants to take away valuable insight that can be applied in business, while offering a deeper understanding of the exciting prospects and new trends that exist in the marketplace.”

The keynote is free to all registered attendees and exhibitors of Licensing Expo. For an up-to-date schedule of sessions and to register for the full slate of Licensing University sessions, click here.

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