LHSAA Director's Column: NFHS Licensing Program

Kenny Henderson
Kenny Henderson, LHSAA Executive Director

The LHSAA is benefitting this year from a unique partnership between our parent organization – the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) – and the Licensing Resource Group (LRG) that is designed to introduce a new stream of revenue for our member schools.

The partnership is called the NFHS Licensing Program, and it was initiated to capitalize on royalties generated by sales of school-identified merchandise sold at national and regional retail outlets. Schools are entitled to royalties on sales of items like T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and other paraphernalia bearing nicknames, trademarks and other school-established brands. The LHSAA Executive Committee approved the partnership this past fall.

Previously, LHSAA schools and their booster programs were left to fend for themselves to produce and sell such school-affiliated items. Now, however, the NFHS Licensing Program allows LRG – a trademark and royalty management group established in 1991 – to manage the production and distribution of such school-affiliated items and consolidate revenue and royalty payments from sales of these items under one group. Of course, individual schools may freely opt out of the program at any time.

Individual schools are not precluded from authorizing their bookstores, concessionaires, booster clubs or other similar organizations to purchase, distribute, market and sell school-affiliated products. Schools participating in the program are merely granting LRG a “non-exclusive right” and a license to market and distribute products on their behalf—they are not transferring ownership of trademarks, logos, nicknames, mascots, designs or other property to LRG. Furthermore, LRG promises in the agreement to distribute products “in a manner that maintains the integrity, character, and reputation of the school.”

The agreement with LRG establishes that schools will receive a minimum royalty of 50 percent on all revenues from product sales. The LHSAA will receive all royalties directly from LRG within 60 days of the end of the school year, at which time the LHSSA will distribute the payments to schools proportionally based on product sales.

The first-year trial run of the unprecedented licensing program was highly successful, with 169 LHSAA schools participating. The LHSAA recently received a total of approximately $24,309 from LRG, which includes the LHSAA’s share of $2,985. The Association is donating the entirety of its share (minus administrative costs) in equal portions to our members and will distribute the remaining royalties to participating schools proportionally based on sales. Only a couple of schools have opted out, and we hope more member schools will choose to participate in the program.

The LHSAA is excited at the initial success of the NFHS Licensing Program, and the benefits of participating in the program going forward are quite promising. The Association will continue to explore similar opportunities for expanded development and additional marketing strategies to benefit our member schools.