Louisiana Tech University experienced a 61% increase in revenues from licensing in the 2021-22 fiscal year. Revenues from trademarks – the University’s intellectual property owned through the University Foundation – experienced record growth in the past year despite challenges from supply chain issues and continued nationwide recovery from the effects of COVID-19.
The impact of this increase comes off the back of the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years in which royalties and sales both suffered downward trends primarily due to the pandemic. This decrease affected collegiate universities’ licensing efforts nationwide in 2020 as campus shutdowns, event cancellations, and live sports schedule adjustments hindered sales.
In 2021, supply chain complications arose from factory closures and labor shortages, leading to another down year for collegiate licensing revenues. Even so, Louisiana Tech’s decreases during this time were well below the average thanks in large part to licensing decisions made in conjunction with the University’s licensing partner, the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). These business moves are continuing to strengthen sales today.
“Early in the pandemic, we decided to expand opportunities to order Louisiana Tech merchandise online,” said Tonya Oaks Smith, Executive Director of University Communications for Tech. “The online shopping trend has not slowed, and we hope to continue to offer more opportunities for our fans to shop for Tech gear no matter where they are.”
The Louisiana Tech Brand Store on Amazon launched in early 2021, with sales up 82% for FY 2022. Retail sales have spiked dramatically across the board during this time. One of the top retailers of University-branded merchandise is Walmart, whose sales of licensed items are up 219%. Royalties from Oak Hall Industries, the exclusive supplier of Louisiana Tech graduation caps and gowns, have gone up 84%, making them one of the most significant sources of licensing revenue.
Partnerships with Ruston businesses continue to be mutually beneficial for the campus and the community. Fanbase, a local favorite storefront, accounted for one of the highest total retail sales amounts in FY 2022, up 71% over the previous year. Other retailers in the city, like Patton’s Western Wear and The Children’s Shoppe, also experienced notable growth in licensed sales.
“In addition to these partnerships with local retailers, we have focused on licensing partnerships with companies like WRLDINVSN to deliver new and innovative products designed to attract new fans,” Smith said. “Launching a vintage line in conjunction with the release of Louisiana Tech’s documentary on legendary Coach Leon Barmore provided another line of merchandise that is currently in high demand.”
Additional key licensee partners, all with increases in royalties, include Barnes & Noble College, Adidas, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Fanatics, and Jostens Inc. There were no decreases in gross royalties in FY 2022 from any entities that offer officially licensed Louisiana Tech merchandise.
Branded sales campaigns through CLC, like the “PoWered By” Women’s History Month campaign, provided focused efforts for revenue generation. Percentage-wise, Louisiana Tech experienced a 20% increase in sales of licensed merchandise compared to their peer group average, which is comprised of other universities in the same athletic conference.
While increases in licensee sales result in royalties for the University, the impact of these sales goes well beyond a dollar amount.
“It’s great to see growth in this area, especially from the steadfast partners and new relationships that have been cultivated in recent years,” said Dr. Les Guice, Tech President. “This growth is valuable to the Louisiana Tech brand, which is strengthened by a greater presence online, in stores, and through meaningful and intentional collaborations with licensees.”
Overall, Louisiana Tech’s total gross royalties for FY 2022 amount to $168,219 (61% increase). Total sales were $1,257,429 (53% increase). Total units sold were 131,693 (74% increase). Apparel businesses accounted for 66% of those numbers.
“I’m looking forward to the continued success of Louisiana Tech’s licensing efforts,” Smith said. “Knowing we laid the foundation for these increases during challenging times makes the result that much more significant.”
Proceeds from Louisiana Tech licensing and partnerships benefit student scholarships.
“Licensing bolsters Louisiana Tech University in several ways,” said Brooks Hull, Vice President for University Advancement and Chief Executive Officer. “The revenues support specific scholarship initiatives for our students and having our fans and supporters all over the world represent our university increases awareness of our brand.”