NFLPA Names Shinesty, Rawlings, EA SPORTS as Category Winners of the 2020 NFLPA Licensee of the Year Awards

Shinesty, Rawlings Sporting Goods Company Inc., and EA SPORTS have been named as the 2020 NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Licensees of the Year, it was announced today by Steve Scebelo, Interim President, NFL Players Inc.

  • Best Breakout Product: Shinesty’s unique, new, player-themed Hawaiian style shirts.
  • Best Player Activation: Rawlings’ activation on QVC to promote player signatures used on the new Team Roster Signature Football.
  • Best Use of Group Player Rights: EA SPORTS’ record-setting success across engagement and revenue growth through Madden NFL 20.

The NFLPA, through its licensing and marketing arm, NFL Players Inc., launched the annual awards in 2015 to honor the NFLPA licensees that demonstrate the most successful and creative use of NFL player group licensing rights.

“We have many licensing partners whose products, activities and results exceeded expectations, and this year’s winners, Shinesty, Rawlings and EA SPORTS certainly set a high bar and represented some of the most inventive ways to leverage group rights that we saw last season,” Scebelo said.

As a brand-new apparel licensee, Shinesty unveiled a quirky and fan-friendly line of officially licensed Hawaiian shirts featuring hand-drawn caricatures of players such as Odell Beckham Jr., Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Colorado-based company, whose mission is to bring consumers the most outlandish collection of clothing the world has ever seen, created the NFLPA collection for tailgates, watch parties, game day events and sports enthusiasts both in the stands and on the sidelines.

Rawlings, a leading manufacturer and marketer of sporting goods, leveraged its rights to the players’ official licensed signatures to provide fans an original new product – the official Team Roster Signature Football. Those watching global television network QVC saw the football covered in facsimile signatures from a team’s active roster of players. The results from the televised activation were significant, with Rawlings selling nearly $8,000 in product per minute.

EA SPORTS, one of the NFLPA’s longest standing licensees, shattered records both in engagement and NFLPA-based revenue growth. Madden NFL 20 was the most successful game in franchise history, with unique gamers growing by 30 percent year-over-year, monthly average gamers reaching an all-time high, more than 330 million hours played, and over one billion minutes watched on Twitch. Community and celebrity-athlete competitions broadcast throughout April alone, led to the equivalent of 2,600 NFL seasons of Madden NFL 20 content watched by viewers around the world. The success of the partnership preceded the announcement of a monumental renewal in May 2020, which will see EA and the NFLPA partner to develop games in new genres, expand esports programs, and develop additional experiences for fans across more platforms.

A panel of NFLPA licensing executives evaluated licensees on five criteria: number of unique players featured within the licensees’ product lines; the marketing and promotional activations that featured players throughout the year; creativity and innovation in product development; the licensees’ positive development of the players’ intellectual property; and the range of distribution and growth in annual financial performance.

The NFLPA is one of the largest and most influential licensors in the world, representing exclusive group licensing rights of more than 2,000 active NFL players. The NFLPA licensing program includes a roster of more than 80 licensees accountable for $1.9B in retail sales of player-identified product across key licensing categories. The expansive licensing program offers NFLPA licensees unique and diverse personalities to incorporate into product lines, marketing activations and appearances. Licensees leverage the exclusive group player rights – including names, images, likenesses, uniform numbers, signatures, photographs, original art, voices, biographical data and other intellectual property – to create products with appeal across apparel, hardlines and digital categories.

Licensed products span apparel, video games, trading cards, game jerseys, T-shirts, hoodies, backpacks, wall decals, pennants, collectible figurines, matted and framed photos, bobbleheads, plush, drinkware, pet products and much more.