Catching Up With...

Catching Up With Blake Davidson

This past July, NASCAR announced the establishment of the NASCAR Teams Licensing Trust. It’s an industry-operated organization created to expand and develop the NASCAR licensing program. The Licensing Trust is composed of the organization’s sanctioning body and a number of NASCAR teams, including more than 30 NASCAR national series drivers. Blake Davidson, managing director of licensed products at NASCAR, discussed the establishment and goals of the Licensing Trust.

Paul Narula: How will the establishment of the NASCAR Teams Licensing Trust improve the NASCAR licensing program?

Blake Davidson: Ultimately, we think this is going to give the products more depth. This will get more products into the market. However, it’s not just more products, but more products from more drivers. We’re going to create more opportunities for fans to buy their favorite driver’s products. It will also give us the opportunity to strengthen our agreement with retailers. This is not just about selling merchandise. This is about establishing value.

P.N.: How closely will each team be working with the Trust on licensing initiatives?

B.D.: The trust is managed by a board comprised of participating teams. They have a very big say in running the business and will be actively involved. They all have people that work for the individual teams that are a part of the licensing business. The Trust will tap into all of those people to push this forward. The teams have always been involved, but now they’ll be looking at the business from a more holistic point of view.

P.N.: Why is the timing right to establish the Teams Licensing Trust?

B.D.: This is an idea that we have talked about for quite some time. The premise behind it is how can we better the business model? And, how can we make things better for fans? Now we feel that the timing is right. Sports has been hit by the recession and this felt like a way to consolidate the business while, at the same time, building a better business model for the long term.

P.N.: What will be the initial product categories the Trust will focus on?

B.D.: There are four merchandise categories we want to focus on—toys, die-cast vehicles, apparel, and trackside products. While it may grow to more categories over time, those are what we are choosing to focus on right now. We’re already more than half way through 2010, but we do have a number of programs that will come online in 2011.