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Bundesliga appoints IMG to handle global licensing programme

Bundesliga International has appointed IMG to be its exclusive global licensing representative in a multi-year partnership.

A statement from IMG said the two parties will work to together to: “develop an innovative licensing programme designed to bring the league to consumers around the world in dynamic and engaging new ways, through a range of international distribution channels and high-quality product categories for men, women and children”.

Sven Thierhoff, vice president of licensing, IMG, told SportBusiness that Germany and central European were likely to provide the biggest market for Bundesliga-branded products. But he added that the two parties were also looking to target consumers in the USA, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia in the Americas, China and Japan in Asia, as well as the Middle East and South Africa.

“The best ideas are developed when category experts and brand experts work closely together,” he said. “Sports and football-driven products will lead the way, but the brand and story will extend to many categories based on creative, co-developed ideas, from toys to consumer electronics.”

Robert Klein, Bundesliga International chief executive said: “To see the enthusiasm and professionalism shown by IMG throughout our initial discussions provided us with further evidence of the value and attraction of the Bundesliga internationally. Their expertise, combined with a powerful brand like the Bundesliga, will create many more licensing opportunities as we work together to build a wide range of products for fans.”

As well as developing a new revenue stream for the German League, the partnership will also serve to market the German league.

“The story of Bundesliga football comes before revenue but telling this story with authenticity through innovative products can achieve both,” Thierhoff told SportBusiness.

The agreement with IMG comes shortly after the league opened new offices in Beijing and New York to compliment an outpost in Singapore which opened in 2012. Bundesliga International was established in 2017 as a subsidiary of the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) with a remit to increase the global popularity of the league and ultimately boost the value of its international media rights.

The sale of the Bundesliga’s media rights from 2020-21 onward across Asia, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa will provide a litmus test of the office’s efforts so far.

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