Major League Baseball (MLB) has started focusing more sharply on the European market, with several new licenses and dedicated product ranges. Among the novelties is a European apparel line launched by Majestic, the MLB’s global apparel licensee, in the U.K., France, Germany and Italy over the next weeks.
MLB apparel has already been sold in these countries on a small scale for several years but the offering was focused on replicas, in a sport that hardly draws any following in Europe. The fresh ranges are squarely urban, although they will feature in some sports stores such as Made in Sport and Go Sport in France. The move comes three years after Majestic opened its European office in London with the purpose of developing customized ranges in the region, where its sales of MLB-related textile should reach about $13 million this year.
Another MLB licensing deal was inked with Opal in Lyon, France, for optical frames and sunglasses around Europe. Meanwhile, the Siport group group in Italy obtained a Europe-wide MLB license for footwear, with a fashion edge reminiscent of Converse or the Stan Smith shoe by Adidas. Both the eyewear and the footwear ranges are to be launched in selected European markets next year.
The European licensing push was orchestrated by the French licensing division of IMG, the global sports rights company, which was reinforced last year for the Rugby World Cup. This division is in charge of European licensing deals for several sports-related brands from Vuarnet to Gotcha.