Sport and sport equipment has been at the forefront of licensing on many levels. And new sports or activities have lead to new brands, just think of skiing, surfing, skateboards, triathlon, snowboards, yoga and the specialized brands, which grew with those activities.
Often those specialized brands stepped out of their niche and grew mainstream. Qicksilver is one, Billabong and Everlast others. And most recently Sperry Top-Sider is making a push from boat shoes to – well – pretty much everything.
The newest niche brand to make a move from specialist towards generalist is iconic Baseball brand Louisville Slugger.
The owner, Hillerich & Bradsby Co. Inc., has announced a multiyear performance apparel licensing agreement with Xone Sport LLC.The licensee will produce Louisville Slugger products for the youth and adult baseball and softball markets.
It is a great strategy for niche sports brands. And licensing reduces the risks tremendously. Just consider where Lacoste is today, and that they started out with one product, tennis shirts.