America's Home for College Sports

CLC Celebrates 30 Years Growing College Licensing
The collegiate licensing industry is a massive $4.3 billion business in annual retail sales
Aug 04, 2011

When Bill Battle, who began his career by representing legendary coach Bear Bryant and Alabama, where Battle played college football, had the vision of forming a company to serve as licensing agent for collegiate properties, schools had very little appetite for licensing programs.

Trademark enforcement was difficult. University logos were being ripped off ad nauseum by silk screeners producing T-shirts both funny and foul. "Brand management" was a foreign concept. Most schools saw scant potential in selling logoed merchandise beyond the college bookstore.

Coaxing universities to understand the value and potential of their brands was a key step Battle and his team took in 1981 in founding The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), which would grow to represent more than 200 schools, conferences and bowl games.

Thirty years later, the collegiate licensing industry is a massive $4.3 billion business in annual retail sales. Licensing directors still rely on a foundation of trademark enforcement, and with CLC's guidance, also benefit from national promotions, specialized retail programs like "I Love College Hoops" and "College Colors Day," and expert advice for maximizing their intellectual property rights.

CLC helps its collegiate partners secure license agreements with manufacturers that best ensure the availability of a diverse, high-quality range of college products to satisfy consumer demand while helping to generate consistent revenues and maintain institutional values.

CLC brings to schools products that range from cowboy boots for a fan's feet to designer sunglasses on her head. Fans can get cool college gear in retail channels ranging from Walmart to Brooks Brothers. There's even a Victoria's Secret PINK College Collection.

College administrators have fully embraced licensing --now a powerful multifaceted business producing revenues that support their academic missions. At Auburn, for example, all licensing royalties go to academic scholarships.

Each institution's licensing director serves as a key partner in the licensing business. Shortly before CLC welcomed hundreds of collegiate licensing executives to its annual conference, this year in Orlando, Managing Director Cory Moss was handed the reigns to the company's top position.

The youthful-appearing Moss, a 17-year company veteran who was previously SVP of Operations and Properties, jokes that he started at CLC while prospecting for business from his stroller.

The Hampton University graduate whose father was an athletic director at North Carolina A&T and Georgia State before retiring, told Sports Business Journal, "My message is we shouldn't settle for the way things have always been. Let's make sure our clients are partnered with the right companies, the best-in-class licensees. That might mean one company or multiple companies in each category...We've got to position ourselves for where this market is evolving and that means new categories, new channels, bigger brands getting involved in college sports."

Moss reports to Mark Dyer, Chief Innovation Officer for IMG College, who in addition to overseeing licensing and brand management, is also responsible for IMG College non-media business lines stadium seating and ticketing solutions.

Dyer is no stranger to the world of licensing. Before joining IMG in 2008, he led NASCAR's licensing business and subsequently that sport's largest licensee, Motorsports Authentics.

To round out the next generation of CLC leadership, the company made additional changes to better align some of its leadership team around key business objectives of brand management, protection, and development:   

•John Greeley assumes the duties of SVP-Properties, responsible for CLC's school and conference partnerships.
•Scott Bouyack will serve as SVP-Brand and Business Development, responsible for retail channel growth and pursuing new business opportunities.
•Catherine Singer will serve as SVP-Operations, responsible for day-to-day oversight of business systems and processes within the organization.
"CLC is a cornerstone of our business," said Ben C. Sutton, Jr., President of IMG College. "These executive appointments put us in a great position to help our institutional partners grow their brands and increase their retail presence across the country."