UBM is relocating Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) to ExCeL London from 2019 as part of the organiser’s ambitious strategy to evolve the show, attract even more European licensees, retailers and licensors and improve the customer experience for both visitors and exhibitors.
The organiser was attracted by the accessibility and flexibility of space at ExCeL, as well as the thriving out-of-hours social scene the area offers following the 2012 Olympic regeneration programme and is receiving full support of the move from show sponsor, the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA).
As BLE brand director Anna Knight explained: “Moving BLE to ExCeL London makes perfect business sense on all sides. Over one third of our visitors fly in from continental Europe and we have big plans to grow this – let’s not forget, the show is called Brand Licensing EUROPE – and the Elizabeth Line (which opens on 9 December and will run every 2.5 minutes) is a total game changer, offering a direct link from ExCeL to Heathrow Airport in just 40 minutes. City Airport is also close by and there are three DLR stations onsite.”
The new transport connections plus the regeneration of the local area will also have wider implications for improving the customer experience at BLE. The number of hotel rooms within a five-minute walk has more than doubled since 2009 to 2,700. And the Elizabeth Line makes it possible to travel to an additional 40,000 rooms - suited to any and all budgets – in under 20 minutes.
“We are very aware how sociable the licensing industry is and how important it is to our visitors and exhibitors to have access to great bars and restaurants to continue networking after a full day of meetings. Bond Street is just 15 minutes away on the Elizabeth Line, Shoreditch less than half an hour and the Greenwich Peninsula and Canary Wharf a mere stone’s throw. There are 20 restaurants and bars onsite 500 venues within 15 minutes and thousands more in central London.”
UBM believes the flexibility of space offered by ExCeL (both the volume and variety) will also support its future growth strategy for BLE, allowing the team to redraw the floorplan to make it fairer for all exhibitors no matter how big or small, improve navigation and layout and rethink its screenings programme.
“In addition to 100,000 sq. m. of pillar-free exhibition space, we’ll have access to over 40 purpose-built meeting rooms, the 600-person Platinum Suite, which will revolutionise the theatrical teasers and screenings, and the ICC - London’s largest conference centre – which means that all of our exhibitors will be able to host their entire BLE showcase in one venue on a single level.
Olympia has been a fantastic home to Brand Licensing Europe for over a decade and it will be hard to wave goodbye to west London and all the memories. But it's time for a new chapter in the BLE story, and very much looking forward to working with ExCeL and taking full advantage of the opportunities, it offers to support the future growth and prosperity of the show."
The space will also allow UBM to transform the live experience for visitors and exhibitors with increased and improved activations and experiential installations, more interactive feature content and new branding and sponsorship opportunities for exhibitors.
"One of LIMA’s primary missions is to advance licensing around the world, and we are confident that the move of BLE to ExCeL London in 2018 will foster the growth of the show and of the licensing business itself,” said LIMA President Maura Regan.
ExCeL acting CEO Jeremy Rees added. “We are delighted to welcome Brand Licensing Europe to ExCeL London in 2019. Working in close partnership with UBM, we strongly believe we can provide the flexibility of space to fulfil BLE’s ambitious plans and provide a first-class customer experience to exhibitors and visitors.
“Furthermore, with the arrival of the Elizabeth Line in December 2018 we can also provide unrivalled access to European destinations to further strengthen the key European aspect of this world class event.”