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21 things to see and do at BLE

Brand Licensing Europe opens next week – 4 – 6 October 2023 – at ExCeL London.

New show times have been announced to allow for any disruption caused by the planned train and London Underground strikes on 4 and 6 October. The official meetings platform has also been updated to reflect these changes:

  • Wednesday, 4 October: 9 am-6 pm
    Optional additional hour between 5-6pm for meetings
  • Thursday, 5 October: 8 am-7 pm
    Optional additional hours between 8-9am and 5-7pm for meetings
  • Friday, 6 October: 9 am-3 pm
    Earlier close to allow attendees and exhibitors maximum time for their onward journeys due to expected travel disruption

“BLE is a three-day whirlwind of meetings, content, spontaneous hellos, networking and showfloor shopping. It’s exhilarating and rewarding and the place to be if you’re in the business of brands, or hoping to learn more about it,” said BLE event director Ella Haynes.

“This show is where future releases are teased, licensing deals are made, and retailers and manufacturers come to collaborate with leading brands to transform their product range. This year won’t disappoint; we’ve picked out 21 highlights to help you get excited for next week, and make sure you don’t miss anything from your visit.”

  1. Passing GO: Bringing the World’s Biggest Board Game to Life – Wednesday, 4 October, 12:30 (C101) – Hasbro and The Path Entertainment Group spill the beans on how they turned the world’s favourite family board game into an LBE smash hit.
  2. The Green Pavilion (D120) – the BLE sustainability-focused pavilion is back in partnership with Products of Change, and packed with exhibitors and product showcases to help drive your sustainability strategy forward.
  3. 260+ exhibitors and thousands of brands – including over 70 companies appearing for the first time, which can only mean one thing – loads more brands for visitors to do business with. View the final exhibitor list and brand directory to see the full range of IP available for license across entertainment, sports, gaming, art, food & beverage, heritage, publishing, TV, celebrity, music and so much more.
    • There will be thousands upon thousands of brands that are actively looking for licensing partners – brands like Marvel, Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Nadiya Hussain, Sarah & Duck, Gigantosaurus, Ed Hardy, Beryl Cook, International Space Archives, Moomin, The Little Prince, Farah, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Febreze, The Smurfs, Frida Kahlo, Bentley Motors, and English Heritage to name a few.
    • Get your meetings booked in now and don’t forget you are welcome to use the Matchmaking Lounge (D121).
  4. The Elizabeth line – warmly welcomed by everyone visiting ExCeL, the ‘Lizzie’ line will bring you to BLE quicker and in 21st century comfort and style. Please note that some stations in central London may not be open on 4th and 6th October should the planned London Underground strikes go ahead. Plan your journey here.
  5. The BLE Location Based Experiences trail – there is so much to experience across the show floor this year on the BLE LBE trail – don’t miss Peppa Pig’s Afternoon Bus Tour, a retro gaming activation ‘The Arcade’, Mattel’s Tiger Shark Hot Wheels Monster Truck’ and more
  6. Day 2 keynote: Thea Green MBE, founder of Nails.INC, Thursday 5 October, 12:30 (C101) – the beauty industry and health and beauty licensing are growing markets, with the latter valued at $12.34 bn in 2022, up 7% year on year and accounting for 4% of the entire global licensing industry. Thea Green has been innovative across both sectors for years – her keynote will be an inspirational watch for brands, retailers and manufacturers.
  7. The Retail Lounge (A101) – an exclusive lounge for retailers to meet, relax and recharge as well as talk to the BLE’s head of retail Laura Freedman-Dagg about taking part in next year’s popular Retail Mentoring Programme. Applications are already open.
  8. Kelvyn Gardner License This! Competition (C101) – meet this year’s finalists AND winner ahead of the Day One Keynote at 12:30pm on Wednesday 4 October.
  9. NEW Ignite Brand pitches – (License Global Theatre) Five up-and-coming unlicensed brands ready to make their mark in the licensing industry will take to the stage in a thrilling, fast-paced session of live speed-pitches at 16:15 on Wednesday 4 October. Watch out for Bibi’s World, CwaZyLeigh CreaTions with CwaZyBean Aliens, Nine Mile Babies, Travel Sentry with Travel Sentry Red Diamond and Wendy Morrison Design.
  10. What’s new – well 70 of our exhibitors for starters, including Rebellion Studios, Afro Unicorn, Sarah & Duck (don’t miss the daily puppeteer displays), Boofle, Guinness World Records, Ceremony of Roses and many more.
  11. NEW Licensee Pavilion (C171) – packed with brilliant licensees including Play Management Company, Smash Industries Global, Best of Both Worlds, KONIX Interactive, E Plus M, Park Agencies.
  12. NEW Advice Centre (C230) full of supportive suppliers offering free guidance., including Redpoints and Axencis who specialise in counterfeit solutions, IP tokenisation with NFT verification to remotely sign license agreements from iLicensing Works and PWC.
  13. Sports Zone (head for E235, the Sports Bar) – don’t miss this year’s array of sport brands, including AC Milan, Sport Lisboa e Benfica, FC Barcelona, UEFA Club Competitions, Fondazione Milano Cortina 2026, FC Porto, Tour de France, RFEF, G2 Esports, Federation Francaise Football, Federacao Portuguesa de Futebol, FC Internazionale Milano, TOPPS Europe, Manchester City FC and Fanatics.
  14. Brands & Lifestyle zone – Van Gogh Museum, Castrol, Kodak, Lewis Capaldi, Motorhead, Arm & Hammer, Yale, blur, Playmobil, Volvo, The Met and RSPB are just some of the amazing brands to discover in our Brands & Lifestyle zone. Make sure to look at the Brand Directory or take a look at which brands are represented by agents – some have over 100 available for license.
  15. Cafes and Bars – there are four bars on the show floor this year and they will be hosting – among other things – Show Welcome Drinks from 5-7pm on Wednesday 4 AND Thursday 5 October, in the Terminator Skynet Bar. Everybody’s welcome.
  16. Content, content, content – License Global Theatre (C101) – this year’s educational programme goes way beyond our daily keynotes to touch on sector-specific trends and insights into fashion, gaming, animé, animation, food & beverage, sports and more. Arrive early to claim a seat – access is first-come-first served and free to attend. Check out the agenda here.
  17. License Global, BLE & Products of Change present Day of Purpose. This year, BLE is partnering with Diversity Org, which educates low-income students on how to obtain corporate and high-income careers and helps them obtain internships. BLE will bring 60 school students to the show this year, where they will enjoy a show tour, career exposure panel and networking workshop. 20 students will be attending from UAL – University of the Arts London – where they are studying fashion management / buying / merchandising and are likely to be future retail buyers.
  18. The Brands Untapped 100 second edition (E174) will be released at the show with foreword from BLE event director Ella Haynes! Plus, co-founder Billy Langsworthy will be hosting a special licensed footwear collab display, featuring The Met x Dr Martens, Minecraft x Crocs, Transformers x Sketchers, Sesame Street x Vans, Playboy x KOI and many more.
  19. Ain’t no party, like an LI party … Licensing International’s industry party is back – Soho Nights takes place from 7.30 till late on Wednesday 5th October at 100 Wardour Street in Central London. Tickets can be purchased online from LI’s website.
  20. The BLE Character Parade – everybody’s favourite, the parade will start at D101 then snake its way through the show toward the Pyramid entrance at the West of ExCeL. Make sure to get a selfie with your favourite characters and tag #BLE2023.
  21. Free orientation sessions and show tours (C101)– New to BLE and/or licensing? Join the BLE team for free orientation sessions and show tours to help get the most from your visit. 09:15 Wednesday and Thursday from the License Global Theatre.
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