Feature Interview with Peter Maule | Global Head of Licensing at Nitro Circus

by The Editor 0

Nitro Circus continues to gather momentum, playing to sell-out crowds across five continents. Nitro Circus now has a legitimate footprint across Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South Africa. Travis Pastrana continues to push the barriers in terms of extreme action stunts, which continues to attract huge audiences around the globe. We spoke to Travis Pastrana and Peter Maule late last year about the evolution of Nitro Circus and the commercial opportunities it provides for retailers around the world who are now operating in a super competitive market. This brand provides a connection to a huge demographic of fans.

Travis pointed out to us that the key selling point for Nitro Circus is the product! “We don’t try to be anything we are not… the riders are really good at what they do. They sign autographs and talk to kids because they want to. Everything is genuine.”

What’s more astounding is that 80-100 live events each year sell out the largest global venues in the world including Rod Laver, The O2 Arena in London and Madison Square Garden. Nitro Circus now has a multi year partnership with NBC, pretty cool! It is one of the fastest growing youth entertainment brands in the world. It is all about kids and families: 50% of all ticket purchases are by Moms 40 years old with two kids and 82% of kids are under 15 years old. Nitro Circus is the perfect brand for consumer products & licensing. We were able to speak with Pete Maule who heads up the licensing component of the business just prior to Licensing Expo. Pete was able to update us on the progress of the brand and talk a little about the retail opportunities that now exist.

Pete, as we lead into Licensing Expo can you tell us what your major priorities will be during the show?

We have been incredibly fortunate to have partnered with some amazing licensees since last year and have begun to gain traction at retail in the US, UK and Australia. Our major priority this year is to finalise fall range plans with bikes, toys & specialty apparel and build an integrated marketing plan utilising our tour, social media, broadcast and our athlete assets to drive consumer and retail awareness. There are a number of new business opportunities and categories that we would like to lock down as well including mass apparel, home décor and electronics. Obviously, retail meetings are a focus for us as well.

When we last spoke you were securing partners in key product categories and developing products that will resonate with the typical Nitro Circus consumer. Have you now locked up these key categories and what are the top three drivers for your business?

We have been successful locking up a number of key categories over the last 18 months. Some are global in nature and other regionally focused. Our priority drivers include mobile and video gaming with Saber Interactive, the developers of Tier 1 games including Halo, World War Z and Quake. Sporting goods focused on bikes, scooters and skateboards is another key and natural category and we have secured a great partnership with Hyper Bike Co who sponsor a number of our top athletes. Bell have also come on board and will be developing a Nitro Circus inspired kids protective range for Spring 2018.

Nitro Bike

As well, we have a multi-year partnership with ’47 who are developing an amazing range of authentic rider apparel and headwear focused on specialty retail including Zumiez and Lids.

As Nitro Circus is truly a family sport, what is your pitch to prospective retail partners in terms of how you will build store traffic and engage consumers to seek out the brand?

One of the greatest advantages we have to support licensees and retailers is our integration strategy across all of our existing marketing platforms. 80 live shows around the world each year, our partnership with NBC, our massive digital and social following and footprint, and of course our athletes. Having the ability to advertise and promote across all of these assets gives our partners a natural way to extend the product and retail messages to customers about our products and where to buy them. Whether it is a new product or a new retailer, we remain committed to leverage these assets to the fullest. What a powerful tool to let fans know that the products are athletes are using, wearing or playing with will be available at your local retailer. This is a huge point of difference from traditional brands or licenses.

I notice with interest that Nitro Circus was back in Australia with a Regional Centre Tour just prior to this show. What did the fans say and how did the tour deliver?

This recent regional tour broke all of past attendance records. Although the live tour got its start in Australia, we are continually amazed about how passionate our fans down under are.

I believe you will be back in Australia again in 2018. Can you provide us with an overview of this tour?

We have a 13 stop regional tour planned for 2018. We are really excited to be back on the Gold Coast, Newcastle, Darwin and Perth, to name a few.

I see you now have well over 10 million likes on Facebook and your YouTube platform has drawn millions of views from eager extreme sports enthusiasts. Do your Social Media platforms now drive commercial outcomes?

Digital and social media continue to grow and be a huge source for fans to consume content. We have over 200 million video views of our content each month and deliver new compelling content daily to our highly engaged fans. Organic integration of our new products into this content will hit millions of consumers each month.

You have the Nitro World Games in Salt Lake City in June. What will this event deliver to the brand in terms of merchandise sales outcomes?

This event has been driven by Travis Pastrana’s passion for progressing action sport through safety and innovation. It is also the only true open competition in which anyone around the world can actually qualify to compete. We have revolutionised the scoring taking out subjectivity and making this a true legitimate competition. Last year there were 34 world first tricks done during the event and we expect more this year. From a merchandise perspective, many of the riders will be wearing authentic ’47 apparel and headwear which will be available at specialty retail this fall as well as riding bikes and protective gear that will be available for sale at retail for holiday 2017.

Pete, can you share with us some of your progress with merchandise partnerships and retail outcomes in the UK?

We have an amazing partnership with our agent, Lisle Licensing who has been very active presenting our brand to leading licensees and retailers throughout the UK.

Our tour comes back to major markets in the UK in 2018, and we are excited about starting our licensing program focused on ride on products from Ventura (scooters, skateboards, protective gear), as well as innovative new toy products from K’nex and Hexbug. We are looking for a key retail anchor in which we can leverage and drive traffic when our tour returns.

What does your retail platform look like in the USA?

We are very excited about how quickly our key licensees have been able to develop compelling product ranges and the broad support from key retailers including Target, Walmart and Toys “R” Us, Zumiez and Lids.

We are starting with small ranges in construction, bikes and play-sets that bring real innovation, quality and strategic price points. We are going to leverage our marketing platform to really drive consumer awareness and traffic to retail.

There has been a real shift for some brands to include Pop-Up Stores as part of their retail footprint. Is this an option for Nitro Circus?

Yes, this is a real opportunity given that Nitro Circus can really be a cross-category play. Our product ranges can span broadly and make a compelling shop in shop. Our imagery, custom content can help make the shop a destination and a real point of differentiation for a retailer.

There has been an enormous amount of commentary surrounding the Amazon online platform. Do you have an Amazon strategy?

We are in discussion with Amazon on several levels. Obviously, they are a significant retail partner for our licensees, but we are also looking at leveraging our internal media production house to deliver library and original programming as they look to expand their content offering to consumers.

What is your vision for where you want the brand to be from a merchandise perspective, by year-end?

We are excited about working with our licensees and retail partners to develop and implement powerful marketing and promotional support, to inform our passionate family fan base that Nitro Circus authentic products will be available for sale at leading retailers for the very first time this holiday season. We are going to fully implement a cohesive marketing plan leveraging our North American tour starting in May, Nitro World in June, our TV advertising, social media and athlete support to drive interest and traffic to retail. We also want to secure further licensees around the globe.

Nitro Circus Fast Facts

  • 80-100 live shows each year selling out the world’s biggest venues
  • Multi year partnership with the National Broadcasting Company
  • The brand is perfect for consumer packaged goods & licensing
  • One of the world’s fastest growing youth entertainment brands
  • 50% of ticket purchases by Moms 40 years old with two kids
  • An audience where 82% of kids are under the age of 15

Pete, thanks again for your insight. We trust that Licensing Expo will allow you to highlight the significant opportunities that the Nitro Circus brand offers both consumer products and retail partners around the world.