Oyo Sports and Bridge Direct Partner on League Licenses

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Oyo Sports and The Bridge Direct have forged a partnership, sharing professional sports league licenses and manufacturing for toy minifigure construction kits.

The alliance will launch at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show in Las Vegas with the first products (NBA kits) arriving in Q3, says Oyo’s Daryl McKay. The products will be sold under the Oyo brand. Prior to the pact, Bridge Direct had an NBA license for construction kits while Oyo had rights for NFL, MLB and NHL mini-figures and kits.

Bridge Direct will handle volume manufacturing in China. Oyo will handle hot market — such as the Chicago Cubs products that Oyo released the day after the Cubs won the World Series last fall — and special orders at its Marlboro, MA plant.

“We are working together to create a product that uses Bridge Direct’s strength in importing combined with the iconic look of Oyo mini-figures,” says McKay. “All of the licenses will be combined under the Oyo brand, but we will remain two separate companies and this will allow us to have to new products and prices.”

The partnership also will broaden Oyo’s distribution among mass retailers, where Bridge has a significant presence.

“There is very little crossover between the companies and the expertise and strengths of both companies complement each other without cannibalizing any one piece of the business,” says McKay. “It is a joint arrangement so that the merchandise aligns whether it is imported and made domestically and is matched with companies’ respective customer bases.”

The combination of the companies allows for them to keep their independence while also “working very closely together in all aspects of the business to have a united front with the trade and consumers,” says Bridge Direct’s Jay Foreman.

Separately, Oyo shifts into collegiate hockey, bringing the sport into toy licensing for the first time. The company launches with building sets and mini-figures for Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, University of North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The products range from 73-piece sets featuring a Zamboni with the schools marks ($24.99) to minifigures of 17 NHL players in their school uniforms. There also are generic campus collection minifigures replete with the schools’ home uniform. The sets are being sold through Oyo’s web site and specialty chains. Oyo also is developing a line for college basketball.