New Delhi: Sports marketing firm Baseline Ventures has been appointed as the exclusive licensing agency of the Premier League football club Liverpool across three countries—India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The Premier League is the world’s richest club-level competition in football, attracting the best players from across the globe to play for such storied teams as Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and last year’s champions, Leicester FC.
The four-year deal will allow Baseline ventures to sell official Liverpool merchandise including apparel, footwear, stationery products and mobile phone covers, among other things, in the three countries. The deal was signed on Thursday.
The company said it expected to earn $ 4-5 million as licensing revenue by the end of 2017.
“We will handle both product and promotional licensing for Liverpool across categories. Currently, Liverpool has a fan base of more than 75 million in India. We will strive hard to grow LFC’s (Liverpool Football Club) licensing business in India and look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Tuhin Mishra, managing director and co-founder at Baseline Ventures.
Mishra further added that the company will tie up with retailers in India and leverage their distribution channels to sell branded Liverpool products. “We will be selling the merchandise through both offline and online channels,” he said.
Liverpool currently has ten official supporters’ clubs in India and an LFC International Academy in Pune. Founded in 1892, the club has won 18 League titles so far. Liverpool is currently owned by Fenway Sports, which bought the club for £300 million ($392 million) in October 2010.
Ankur Bisen, senior vice-president, retail and consumer at the retail consultancy Technopak Advisors, said, “The merchandise market is growing in India. It was a very small market earlier. Football is catching on with the young generation. So these clubs are seeking credible partners to take their merchandise to different markets. There is a lot of demand for this sort of merchandise now,” he said.
In 2015, brand management company Dream Theatre won merchandise licensing and sourcing rights of Arsenal football club in India and tied up with Brandon Company, an affiliate company of Puma to produce the merchandise. Viacom18 Media owns the master licensing rights to sell the Spanish club FC Barcelona merchandise in India, while Mirah hospitality has a franchise agreement with Manchester United Football Club to set up a chain of Manchester United café bars across the nation. According to Technopak, the merchandise market in India is currently valued at Rs 4,500 crore, growing at the rate of 15% per annum.