Business Considerations

Obtaining a license for CLC partner institutions requires a significant financial and time commitment. With nearly 3,000 companies already licensed to produce a wide range of products, each institution is carefully analyzing every applicant and the products they submit. This can result in disapproved applications, most often by the larger institutions that generate significant sales.
Many companies that do receive a license are not well prepared for the ongoing costs of sustaining a successful collegiate business. Annual statistics have repeatedly shown that more than 50% of all new collegiate licensees were no longer licensed after just 18 months. The primary factor cited by these companies was their inability to secure enough retail distribution or a sustaining revenue stream to justify maintaining the license.
This information is not being provided to dissuade companies from applying for a license with CLC. However, it is important that companies consider the significant investment that will be required in becoming a successful licensee before proceeding with the application process. Collegiate licensing is a terrific opportunity for many companies to generate revenue; however, a license alone does not guarantee success, nor is it meant for all companies.

Each institution utilizes its own decision-making process to determine how to grant licenses. Some institutions grant licenses to many manufacturers, often within the same product category/distribution channel, and others are more selective in the types of companies/products they license. Typically, institutions that are among the top 50 selling institutions are more selective than institutions with emerging licensing programs. For a full list of the top selling CLC institutions, please visit the "Rankings" section of this site under "News."
Applicants should be aware that some institutions have pre-existing exclusive agreements in some product categories and distribution channels that prevent them from considering other vendors. Also, because of existing saturation in key categories (i.e., T-shirts, headwear, jerseys, footwear, balls, jewelry, collectibles, and others), applicants for some categories will receive a higher level of scrutiny from CLC and the institutions in the application review process.
Among the applicants for standard licenses, only those that excel in many of the following criteria are likely to be granted a license by the institutions:
  1. Demonstrated commitment and ability to invest in the collegiate market
  2. Proven production and distribution capabilities
  3. Established high standards for retailer customer service
  4. Offer a new or unique product or an incremental means of distribution
  5. Proven sales history with other collegiate/professional/entertainment licensors
  6. Well-established track record as a successful business
  7. Established relationships with major collegiate retailers
  8. Strong brand equity or leadership status in a product category
  9. Internal infrastructure and systems to manage approval and royalty reporting
  10. Dedicated staff to manage the day-to-day licensing process and supply chain compliance
  11. Demonstrated commitment to responsible sourcing and production of products throughout the supply chain.
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