Sep 28, 2011 at 04:00 PM
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Raiders New Sponsor Looks To Crowdsource Licensed Products

Just as Zazzle has turned the collectibles industry on its head with its online crowd-sourced merchandise platform, it's now changing the face of the licensed products industry with what has the potential to be a groundbreaking new team sponsorship. The Redwoods City-online retailer, which allows users to upload images and create their own merchandise, or buy merchandise designed by other members, has signed a sponsorship with the Oakland Raiders that will make Zazzle the Official Customized Promotional Product Supplier of the Oakland Raiders. The sponsorship will add a new wrinkle to the traditional property-promotional products supplier relationship, which is traditionally an entirely b-to-b relationship, by allowing fans to interact, customize, create and order their own Raider-licensed products. It's definitely a new take on the "design the team's next [insert whatever]" crowdsourcing concept.

“We are delighted to announce our new relationship with Zazzle,” said Raiders Chief Executive Amy Trask. “This new relationship is another terrific example of the creative manner in which we work with businesses to maximize value for them while developing new opportunities for the Raider Nation – we couldn’t be more excited about working with Zazzle.”

“The Raiders’ organization is one of the most fan-centric and creative in the NFL, and we are proud to co-develop engaging online experiences and community initiatives in the NFL with them,” said Jeff Beaver, Zazzle CPO. “The partnership and numerous other joint initiatives for the 2011 season are just the beginning to Zazzle’s commitment to develop new opportunities for fans to connect and engage with one of the greatest franchises in the country.”

This is all well and great when the Raiders have a winning record, but what happens when luck turns. Will Raider fans then have the opportunity to apply team marks to products like this, as someone will surely try? Will the team have any rights to nix certain customized products? An interesting dilemma to consider.

Zazzle users traditionally have only been allowed to contribute original work that they created themselves from original elements so copyrighted and trademarked letters, words, designs and logos were off limits. For the Raiders, giving up some control and allowing fans to customize products is a big step for a team. Kudos to the Raiders organization for thinking outside the box when it comes to merchandise, which hasn't had a lot of innovation recently. As part of the deal, the Raiders have also officially renamed the Coliseum’s press box as the Zazzle Press Box for football events. More to come...