POC hosts major sustainability conversations for the US Sports Licensing sector

POC hosts major sustainability conversations for the US Sports Licensing sector

The NFL Players Association, Tottenham Hotspur, and Outerstuff were among the number that packed out the Products of Change stand on the opening day of Licensing Expo 2023 to debate sustainability in sports licensing at the POC US Sports Roundtable this week.

With the topic of sustainability in licensing woven through the narrative of Licensing Expo this year, Products of Change ha taken the chance to use its show space as the basis for discussion around the headaches, hurdles, and the highlights of delivering better sustainability through the power of sports licensing to North American consumers.

Steven Scebelo, the president of NFL Players Inc and North American Ambassador of Sports for Products of Change played host to a session that drew the attention of US companies including Orca Golf, Learfield, Oneteam Partners, and San Antonio Spurs.

The POC stand was packed with US sports licensing professionals.

Over the course of the hour-long discussion, various issues feeding into the over-arching subject of sustainability in sports licensing were discussed, including innovative new processes being explored to extend the life of products such as sports uniforms to keep them from entering landfill while retaining value among the consumer fanbase. Such ideas included schemes to upcycle or reuse players shirts for community projects such as quilts for the homeless or even player-focused memorabilia produced from their own history of team uniforms.

Outerstuff’s Harris McQueen represented the sports merchandise manufacturer when he began to talk around the industry’s responsibility to reduce its environmental and carbon impact and the power of influence that a sector like sports licensing holds among fans and consumers.

Gary Jacobson, licensing manager for the Premier League football (soccer) team, Tottenham Hotspur highlighted the team’s approach to sustainable development, one that has seen the club top the table in he fiercely competitive jostle to be named the UK’s Greenest Football Club. Last year, Tottenham shared the title with Liverpool’s ESG programme, The Red Way – an initiative that has gone the distance to highlight what can be achieved by engaging fans in the conversation.

NFL Players, Tottenham Hotspur, Orca Golf, and many more global sports organisations gathered for the hour-long session.

Sport has an incredibly strong motivation to act. It also has a platform unlike anything else, Football, for example, is estimated to be played by 265 million participants in 5,735 football stadiums worldwide. That reaches a fanbase thought to be around 5 billion.

It was only recently that Liverpool FC witnessed a 90% engagement from fans recycling their waste at home games – a surge on the 25% at the start of the season – thanks to the successful launch of campaign to encourage visitors to recycle items such as drinks cups through its ‘£10k penalty challenge.’

Topics including the weighing up of sustainable endeavours versus the commercial success of licensing programmes were talked around while Formula E’s senior manager of retail and licensing, Charlotte Hughes showcased the electric motorsport’s approach to sustainability from the ground-up, including the way it chooses its partners to work with on the licensing side.

The session ended with a feeling of encouragement that the North American’s market for sports licensing was itself ready to embark on a long journey of sustainable development by using the patform and power of influence of sports to engage sports fans to act more responsibly, while also taking greater responsibility for the sustainability of the products that teams and sports organisations place into the hands of consumers around the world.

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