Game of Thrones is ending, but its merchandise sales are about to drag on forever

Weapons from Game of Thrones are displayed at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland.Peter Morrison/Associated Press

From wine to clothing to touring, HBO and retailers have cashed in over the years with game of thrones merchandise. thrones is not only a huge international spectacle, but also a massive undertaking, with all parties hoping to bail out the bank in the eighth and final season of the show.

“It’s thousands of products, just a lot of stuff all over the world,” said Jeff Peters, HBO’s vice president of licensing and retail. “We’re so busy that we don’t stop to count.”

Products include makeup, beer, collectible toys, and even high fashion collaborations.

But while the show itself is a TV phenom, that doesn’t guarantee fans will be flocking to stores.

“It’s certainly good to be lucky. But you can’t figure out where the merchandising programs are with HBO and what they’ve done with it. game of thrones unless you have a real point-to-point marketing, merchandising and retail strategy,” said product and licensing expert Tony Lisanti.

“This is a global property and each country may resonate a little differently,” he said.

The Californian company Vintage Wine Estates has formalized game of thrones wine for three years now,” said company CEO Pat Roney. “Just the excitement all over the world with the calls we’re getting from almost 40 different countries to sell wine – it’s just amazing,” he said.

Popular tours of game of thrones According to TripAdvisor’s Andrew Aley, filming locations in Croatia and Ireland have boosted small local economies there.

Fans stop for a photo on their way to Audley Castle in Northern Ireland, which was a filming location in the show’s first season.Peter Morrison/Associated Press

“Some really positive examples like Northern Ireland, for example, where it’s not a place that’s always been on every tourist’s radar and has now become one of the mainstays of tourism in that economy local,” he said. “But it’s one of those factors that also drives tourism to other attractions, like the Belfast Titanic or the Giant’s Causeway.”

It hasn’t always been so easy for HBO to find business partners for game of thrones, says Peters.

“At first nobody really knew what it was,” he said. “So that’s us making phone calls and saying, ‘Hey, you gotta step in. We think there is a great opportunity. As the show got established and grew, all the calls came in and people were just throwing out ideas and arguments.

Adidas has launched a line of Adidas x Game of Thrones Ultra Boosts sneakers.The Canadian Press

Some of these ideas resulted in fashion collaborations with companies like Adidas, which created the now hard to find “Adidas x game of thrones “Ultra Boosts” shoes, as well as a collection with menswear designer John Varvatos.

“The one thing that always stuck in my mind from season one was all the textures, all the leather finishes, the artisanal fabrics, and that’s a big part of what we do,” said said Varvatos. “But I also didn’t want to do game of thrones (clothes) where someone felt like they were wearing a suit in town. …So what you wanted to do was take a lot of the wardrobe details from the show and put them into a product that people could actually wear.

There are also ‘Thrones’ themed board games like ‘Monopoly’, ‘CLUE’ and ‘Risk’; Danielle Nicole’s “Game of Thrones” handbags; and beer made by Upstate New York’s Ommegang Brewery.

Urban Decay has released a line of Game of Thrones-inspired makeup products.The Canadian Press

How much money is won? No one really knows except HBO. And the number is hard to estimate, for a reason.

“HBO wants to get licensing fees as high as possible. He won’t want companies licensing ‘Game of Thrones’ to know what deals HBO is making so those companies seek lower fees,” wrote Pace University marketing professor Dr. Larry Chiagouris. , in an email to the Associated Press.

His broad estimate of what HBO is reporting: “That’s a lot!”

Besides the opportunity to make money, retailers have had other benefits from partnering with HBO. Take Urban Decay’s new makeup collection, for example.

“Some of these products didn’t even exist in our range before. So the lipsticks have been redesigned and have new cases and everything,” said Wende Zomnir, founding partner and chief creative officer of Urban Decay (the company previously worked with HBO on the show “Vinyl” ).

There has been pressure to release new “Thrones” merchandise in time for the final season, but Lisanti believes that even when the show ends, the merchandise will remain in demand thanks to streaming and planned spinoffs.

“As long as there is new content, the franchise will continue to be popular. And that content doesn’t have to be another series,” Lisanti said. touring, a series of concerts and events in cities and around the world”.

HBO is not worried.

“We’re hitting while the iron is hot right now,” Peters said. “But we’re pretty confident there will be interest in ‘Game of Thrones’ for a long time.”