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An event aimed at propelling sales and business growth… grows at ExCeL London

Brand Licensing Europe 2019

Event overview

Organised by Informa, Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) is the only pan-European event dedicated to licensing and brand extension.

Brand licensing allows product developers to ‘rent’ a well-known brand and use it on their products. Connecting a powerful brand to an in-demand product helps to increase sales and drive revenue growth, with the 2019 Licensing International Survey suggesting that retail sales of licensed goods reached £280.3bn.

This year marked the 20th year of BLE which has evolved enormously since it started out as a small hotel-based event.


BLE brings together leading brand owners such as Arsenal Football Club, Manchester City Football Club, Nintendo, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Warner Brothers and more with thousands of retailers, licensees and manufacturers for three days of deal-making, networking and trend spotting. It facilitates the discovery of and deal making with the hottest brands, characters and images available for licensing.

For the first time, BLE was hosted at ExCeL London, with the opportunity to deliver a more experiential show chief among the reasons for doing so – BLE achieved this through its activations, which were a huge hit with visitors!


Over 8,000 visitors.


268 exhibitors.


Visitor numbers up 4% on 2018.


6 – 8 October, 2020 – BLE will return to ExCeL London.

Improving guest experience to connect brands and licensees in more memorable ways

One of the key reasons ExCeL London was selected to host BLE in 2019 was for its ability to deliver a more experiential show.

ExCeL’s extensive media assets enhanced exhibitor presence at the show and created an immersive experience for visitors.

In fact, the show’s Attractions Media partner, Blooloop, presented a session on “How brands can succeed in LBE”. In a review piece on its website, Blooloop later commented: “Brands are realising more and more that location-based entertainment (LBE) shouldn’t be an afterthought. Really, it is the future of consumer spending. Instead of buying things, visitors now spend on experiences.”

There were also several key interactive and inspirational activations at the show. Among them were:


Beyond the Book:

Beyond the Book showcased an exciting collection of licensed products from BLE exhibitors, including Copyrights, Gallimard Jeunesse, Casterman and Penguin Ventures. It celebrated publishing’s role within the licensing industry and showcased success stories that have originated as publishing intellectual property (IP) over the years.

The activation also hosted very special events, including live illustrations by Adam Hargreaves, the author behind the Mr Men and Little Miss series. 



The Gaming & eSports Activation:

Located in the Character & Entertainment Zone at BLE, the Gaming & eSports activation offered a colourful, innovative and interactive gaming experience for visitors, including an augmented reality-powered character mural and gaming timeline, bringing to life favourite gaming brands and icons of the last 40 years. 

Fast-forward to fashion in 2020

BLE 2020 will return to ExCeL London next year, when the event will take place from October 6 to October 8.

Organiser Informa has already announced that next year’s event will live and breathe fashion licensing. Plans are in the early stages, but include a live catwalk and themed shows beamed onto every digital screen throughout the venue.

“We all have an emotional connection with fashion,” said Anna Knight, VP for Licensing, Informa Markets. “For years, toys have traditionally been the gateway to consumer products for brands, but apparel is now helping to drive experiences and build brands, especially for categories like eSports, which have an older, hardcore, merch-driven, fanbase. At BLE 2020, we will be exploring fast fashion, haute couture collabs, sustainability, the economy and more.”


“One of the reasons we moved BLE to ExCeL was the potential it offered to create a more experiential show. We proved that this year with our activations and Fresh off the Runway showcase. They were a huge hit with visitors: interactive, inspirational, bold and beautiful, a real testament to the impact creative, successful licensing programmes can have at retail.

But, next year, our fashion theme will really highlight what ExCeL can offer BLE and our exhibitors and visitors.”



Anna Knight, VP for Licensing, Informa Markets.


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