5:00 AM PDT 6/13/2012 by Alex Ben Block
Product sales related to FX’s top-rated show grow from online-only to stores, starting with custom motorcycles and lines of apparel, games and stationary in the U.S. and around the world.
Fans of FX’s Sons of Anarchy will soon be able to ride like outlaws, thanks to a deal with Bartels’ Harley Davidson. The bike maker will produce 100 limited edition motorcycles that will retail for about $25,000 each at Harley dealers this fall.
The new deal for custom motorcycles made by 20th Century Fox Consumer Products is part of a flurry of licensing deals for SOAthat includes hats, games, stationary and more.
After growing online merchandise sales for FX’s top-rated show about 70 percent year-to-year since 2010, Fox is shifting to brick and mortar retailers like Spencer Gifts, Transworld/FYE and Hastings.
“There are different audiences buying the products,” notesJeffrey Godsick, president of 20th Century Fox Consumer Products. “They range from the show’s fan base to people who just like the counter-culture biker attitude to people who are weekend bikers.”
About to enter its fifth season, SOA is now the most-watched show in its history among total viewers 18-49. The most recent season the show averaged 5.5 million viewers per episode. It was also the number three DVD release among TV shows in 2011.
FX has already committed to the show through the seventh season, and Godsick expects the audience and the merchandise sales to continue to grow.
“It was a unique strategy,” says Godsick. “We started the entire consumer products program as a way to reach the fan based audience and as it grew we saw an opportunity to create products that related to the biker culture and the essence of the story … As the audience has grown, so it has continued the evolution.”
The SOA licensing is part of an expanded presence 20th Century Fox Consumer Products has at Licensing Expo 2012, now going on in Las Vegas. Part of that expansion involves products from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, National Geographic and Fox Sports. Among the sports deals newly signed are agreements with Jerry Leigh Apparel and Todd McFarlane.
The new SOA bikes will first go on sale in August in conjunction with the world’s largest motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, just before the show’s fifth season premiere.
For those who don’t want a full-size motorcycle, 20th Century Fox Consumer Products has also made a deal with Maisto for die-cast motorcycles in association with Jax, Clay, Opie and JT. They will be available in stores for the holidays.
Other products include calendars, posters and stickers from Pyramid, a trivia game from Imagination Games (with over 200 questions about the show), as well as wall graphics, standees and stickers from Advanced Graphics.
The licensing blitz is also international. SOA is a hit in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Germany, The Netherlands and elsewhere with products hitting stores later this year. Groovy International is doing a line of apparel and accessories, Piston Clothing will offer high-end shirts and leather jackets, while Hybris Production will have t-shirts and apparel in parts of Scandinavia.