Game of Thrones becomes profitable off air as well as on air

by Caitlin Race

‘Game of Thrones’ is nearing the end with only four episodes left. Fans have been waiting for two years, and now the end is coming. With this season having less episodes than other seasons, it can feel as if fans are missing out. On the other hand, the third episode alone is an hour and twenty minutes compared to the usual hour. It evens itself out.

When the show does reach the end of its road, there are alternatives to keep yourself involved. Retailers have found a way to profit from the merchandise through wine, clothing, tours, and even more.

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

Having a popular show doesn’t necessarily mean that the products will be successful.

Tony Lisanti, a product and licensing expert said “It’s certainly good to be lucky. But you don’t get to where the merchandising programs are with HBO and what they’ve done with ‘Game of Thrones’ unless you have a true, point-by-point marketing and merchandising and retail strategy.”

One product related to the show is created by a California-based wine company. Vintage Wine Estates has been making the “official” wine of the show for three years. The company’s CEO finds it amazing that the wine is sold to almost forty different countries.

Another product is a tour of filming locations from the show such as Croatia and Ireland. This has boosted small and local economies, according to TripAdvisor’s Andrew Aley. It hasn’t always been popular, but now it has become a major pillar of tourism in that local economy.

Adidas has partnered with the show to create “Adidas x Game of Thrones Ultra Boosts” shoes, which are now hard to find. The shoes are created with textures and leathers that give the same feeling that the show does. Inspiration was taken from the same setting as the show and to make someone feel as if they were back in that time frame.

“Thrones”-themed board games have been created as well, such as CLUE, Risk, and Monopoly.

It’s unknown how much money has been made in products from the show, only HBO knows that number, and it’s hard to estimate, even for them. The purpose for keeping it a secret is to get the highest licensing fee possible for companie wanting to license the name.

Urban Decay, a makeup brand, has partnered with HBO. Wende Zomnir, founding partner and chief creative officer of Urban Decay, said “A couple of these products didn’t even exist in our line before. So the lipsticks were reimagined and have new casings and everything else.”

HBO isn’t worried about sales once the show ends since they’re “striking right now while the iron is hot,” according to Peters. “But we’re pretty confident that there will be interest in ‘Game of Thrones’ for a long time.”


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