Licensing Licensing Expo News

Activision Blizzard Focuses on Esports, Leading Programs at Licensing Expo


Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group (ABCPG) headed to Licensing Expo 2019 with a roster of new and returning licensed programs and licensees.


“Activision Blizzard has a portfolio of some of the world’s most beloved franchises, and our aim is to work with world-class licensees that enrich our fans’ experience around the world,” said Steve Young, president of ABCPG. “The fan experience is at the center of everything we do, and we’re thrilled to create new opportunities for players to immerse themselves and show their passion for Activision’s and Blizzard’s games through relationships ranging from LEGO to UNIQLO.”


Since its inception, ABCPG remains committed to driving global growth and engagement for Activision Blizzard’s flagship brands, including Activision’s Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, and Blizzard’s Overwatch and World of Warcraft. Additionally, ABCPG continues to usher in a new generation of fans and athletes via its merchandise program for the esports Overwatch League.


Activision Highlights

Call of Duty continues to build on a successful 2018 with new collaborations and offerings. International streetwear brand DRKN, in collaboration with Activision, will launch a high-end Call of Duty capsule collection, available this fall. Fashion UK, newly appointed Pan-European apparel and fashion accessory collaborator, will develop a range of products across retailers, available this fall. ABCPG also worked with Bioworld, KontrolFreek, New Era, and international companies Pyramid and Fashion UK on a range of products to drive further excitement around the reveal of the game’s anticipated fall launch. Astro, Scuf Gaming, Surreal, and Rubber Road will return with Call of Duty licensed programs this year.


This year also marks the 40th anniversary of Activision. Looking to its past, present and future, the company aims to celebrate gamers across generations by leaning into the strong consumer demand for retro properties with the reemergence of iconic characters from the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro franchises, as well as for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.


Blizzard Highlights

Toy and apparel offerings for Overwatch continue to expand throughout 2019. LEGO Group kicked off the year with the release of the LEGO Overwatch product line, which will feature new product launches later this year across price points. Overwatch’s master toy licensee Hasbro continues to create a wide range of play experiences, including the recently released Overwatch Ultimates Action Figures and Nerf blasters, as well as the upcoming tabletop board game Overwatch Monopoly, with more to come this fall. Apparel juggernaut UNIQLO also launched an exclusive line of clothing across Blizzard franchises, including Overwatch and World of Warcraft, as part of its spring/summer 2019 collection. The global program from the fast-fashion retailer launched in May and will continue to roll out regionally through the end of June.

Funko also has launched the latest wave of Overwatch Pops! designed for the growing segment of collector fans. Insight Editions is now offering global Overwatch fans and foodies the opportunity to preorder Overwatch: The Official Cookbook filled with more than 100 recipes inspired by the heroes of the game. Multinational book publisher Scholastic also announced preorders for the third installment of the World of Warcraft Traveler book series, aimed at young readers, which is due out later this year.


ABCPG will relaunch of the official Blizzard Gear Store in China with new e-commerce licensee Baozun. The program kicked off on May 15 on Tmall (Alibaba Group), now allowing offerings on the Blizzard Gear Store to reach millions of fans throughout the region.


Esports Highlights

The Overwatch League has entered into an e-commerce license agreement with Fanatics, the worldwide leader in licensed sports mer­chandise. This new e-commerce platform helps fans around the world connect with their favorite league, teams, and players via Shop.Overwatch­ Through the multi-year deal with Fanatics, ABCPG will bring the esports fan base ongoing licensed product offerings. On May 20, Baozun launched the Overwatch League’s official China ecommerce shop on Tmall. Newly launched relationships for the Overwatch League include New Era, Starter, G-III, Outerstuff, and the first-ever trading card program for esports with Upper Deck. Funko will launch an Overwatch League-themed Pop! Vinyl SKU in Q4 of this year. ABCPG is also currently exploring opportunities for the next iteration of Call of Duty esports.


ABCPG also hosted an esports-focused panel at Licensing Expo on Tuesday at its booth#U202, which put the spotlight on the Overwatch League’s inaugural season while showcasing how our expanding licensed merchandise portfolio is supporting and elevating esports fan culture.