There is power in the collective voice. This sentiment is now taking hold in sports licensing through the efforts of REP Worldwide, the NFL Players Association’s groundbreaking, group player brand management and representation business.
In just over a year, REP Worldwide has engineered historic gains. Across women’s soccer, women’s basketball and men’s and women’s rugby, REP Worldwide has launched group player licensing programs and bolstered athlete-driven marketing opportunities. Built upon the foundation of the business that the NFLPA has been operating for 25 years through its marketing and licensing arm NFL Players Inc., the aim is to help athletes support athletes in leveraging their group licensing rights and expanding their marketability. REP Worldwide’s founding partners include the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) and the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association, and its partner roster includes the U.S. Rugby Players Association.
While representing the group licensing rights of both men and women athletes, REP Worldwide has focused initially on bridging the gap in underrepresented women’s sports licensing. Currently there is enormous global momentum – and untapped potential – for women in sport. BreakingT, for example, teamed up with the WNBPA and The Players Tribune to create a special edition “Bet On Women” t-shirt line that represents women athletes’ pursuit of better opportunities and making real change.
The market for player-driven merchandise is also on the rise and with vast opportunity for more commercial appeal. Brands are more committed than ever to celebrating these elite athletes and creating the best products for their fans. To date, REP Worldwide has executed licensing agreements on behalf of all its partners with more than 30 companies, including BreakingT, Fanatics, Panini America, CultureFly, Amazon, Strideline, Wincraft, Icon Sports, and FOCO in licensed product categories including t-shirts, hoodies, socks, scarves, collectible figures, customized jerseys, promotional products and digital collectibles.
As demonstrated by deals that have been struck, the NFLPA, REP Worldwide and its partners are strengthening the collective voice of all athletes. Licensees are responding by creating athlete-driven product which was unavailable to millions of fans in the past. As competition on the field, court and pitch heats up this year, and more companies manufacture products for fans to purchase and rep their favorite players, the alliance between athletes represents a larger unity that will likely have an enduring influence on sports licensing as a whole.