The ICBA team just returned from the 2020 Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show (SLTS) in Las Vegas. Here are their key insights and observations that are relevant for ICBA Members and that will affect the college store market:

If you are not that familiar with the SLTS, it features 400 exhibitors and attracts buyers from all types of retailers: specialty shops, fan shops, department stores, sporting goods stores, online retailers, collectibles retailers, gift stores, and college stores. A good number of higher ed licensing agents also attend. This is ICBA’s 5th year attending SLTS and the show has grown steadily, particularly with an increased focus on collegiate licensed products (pro sports are also a big part of SLTS). SLTS 2020 continued the trend of attracting more vendors focusing on the college market and more college store buyers overall. By our count, over 80 ICBA Members were at SLTS along with 50 ICBA Vendor Partners.

We especially like the show because there is a good mix of vendors whom you may be familiar with from past ICBA or CAMEX conferences, but there are also quite a few new vendors, and vendors who are just now considering making a larger commitment to the college store channel. ICBA has been working behind the scenes with Emerald Expositions, who puts on the event, to help build out more and better education content, and this was the best year yet for SLTS education programming. Among the many education sessions, ICBA’s Paula Haerr was a featured presenter discussing hot trends in products, colors, graphics, etc., and Denise Walsh (from ICBA Partner Campus Advisory Services) gave some great tips in a presentation on Assortment Planning.

For the 5th consecutive year, ICBA also coordinated a social/networking event—this year at the House of Blues. It was our biggest ever with over 100 attendees, and we had generous support from co-sponsors: Boxercraft, Neil Enterprises, and NetSuite. You can always count on ICBA to coordinate get-togethers for Members at Conferences throughout the year. For us, it’s a great way to bring our community together, exchange ideas, and have some fun!

In terms of trends we felt were worth highlighting:

  • Crop tops are everywhere, in a variety of fabrics and construction. Look for boxy shapes, corded texture, and washed colors.
  • Leopard prints go from subtle incorporation into a graphic element such as an appliqué to full-out impact with all-over pattern as seen on everything from tank tops to crewneck fleece.
  • Nods to the 70s, 80s, and 90s are evident with vintage color palettes, retro decorative fonts, color blocking, and stripes.
  • Tie-dye takes on a more modern interpretation with neutralized looks that mix a color onto a white base.
  • Camo is the new neutral! In shades of green, brown, even grey, it’s found on everything from crop tops, crews, outwear, and tank tops.

ICBA feels that SLTS is a very valuable show and attendance is definitely worthy of your consideration. The dates for SLTS 2021 are January 20-22.