Thursday, September 28, 2023

Visiting Licensing Expo 2023

Licensing Expo, a partnership between Informa’s Global Licensing Group and industry association Licensing International, returned to Las Vegas June 13-15, 2023. The event brought together brand owners, retailers, manufacturers, developers and more for the annual gathering. InPark attended last year when the show’s theme was Location Based Entertainment (LBE). This year, the show focused on fashion, though many major brands continue to pursue the LBE market.

Supporting that trend, Licensing International announced initial findings from their 2022 benchmarking study. In the world of licensing, LBE still is only a small portion of the $340 billion market – but it’s growing. Last year the segment saw a 67% increase over 2021 and is an area the association has marked as prime for more growth.

Hasbro’s vice president of Location Based Entertainment Matt Proulx agrees. “It’s been an evolution where the industry now understands the power of experiences for a brand,” says Proulx. “There are so many examples of how LBE experiences forge emotional connections with fans and helps to further the brand.”

The Hasbro booth at Licensing Expo 2023

Backing that up is Hasbro’s own LBE strategy. In addition to their 2023 plans outlined in InPark, Hasbro is celebrating milestone anniversaries itself and for several of its heritage brands this year and next. 2023 marks Hasbro’s 100th anniversary and 40 years of My Little Pony. Looking ahead to 2024, Dungeons & Dragons turns 50, Transformers will celebrate its 40th and Peppa Pig turns 20. Expect more announcements for those IPs soon.

Already, Hasbro City, the much-anticipated Hasbro-themed Family Entertainment Center in Latin America, opened its doors to the public on June 23. Hasbro City’s extensive entertainment offering includes attractions such as ​MONOPOLY ​The Ride, a suspended roller coaster where the passenger can control the speed; Power Rangers Battle, a state-of-the-art “bumper cars” track with 360-degree turns; Zipp’s Royal Flight, and more.  

Crayola is another industry leader with ambitious LBE global growth plans. The company has expanded their LBE portfolio with scalable models for different markets around the world. “Crayola continues to connect color and creativity cross-generationally with kids, parents, and educators, said  Crayola’s Global Head of Location Based Entertainment Jonathan Linn. “And what better way to further our color and creativity connection than through shared meaningful experiences.” The company will announce more of their plans in the pages of InPark and through their own channels just before IAAPA Expo in November.

Crayola’s booth at Licensing Expo 2023

What brands like Crayola, Hasbro, Peanuts and Rovio (Angry Birds) already understand and have been putting into practice for years is that LBE experiences are no longer just about supporting sales of product. They are valuable entities on their own, not only for the connections they create between consumers and brands, but as revenue generators in their own right.

Of course, one can’t have a conference in Vegas and not have some fun! Licensing Expo’s opening night party took place at Mandalay Bay’s Daylight beach club and featured Ja Rule performing live. An open bar and small bites helped create a comfortable environment for networking.

As the licensing community really starts to dig deep into the LBE space, the attractions industry designers, suppliers and consultants are ready to share their expertise and help create partnerships that move the market forward. As evidence of the long-term potential that exists, Licensing International recently added Bay Laurel Advisor’s George Wade to its board, the first LBE professional to be in that role. And, as always, InPark will be there to cover collaborations and report on market conditions.

Licensing Expo returns to Vegas May 21-23, 2024. The European extension of the show, Brand Licensing Europe, takes place in London October 4-6, 2023.

Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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