What is “I &#9829 NY” worth to New York?

For the first time, New York State is asking the public to submit proposed new versions of the iconic “I ♥ NY” logo, as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new tourism initiative.

The logo — originally created by designer Milton Glaser on a commission from the state — helped create one of the nation’s best-known destination brands, and has helped boost New York’s tourism revenue. Its influence and brilliant simplicity has also led numerous companies, vendors, cities, and countries wanting a piece of “I love _____.”

Which means Empire State Development (ESD), owner of the logo’s trademark and overseer of tourism in the state, has received a steady cash flow from its worldwide licensing office controlling and accounting for merchandise using Glaser’s creation, while penalizing others who are replicating the logo without a license.

This brings the New York World to ask: What is “I ♥ NY” worth to New York?

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What we found

Empire State Development says it will need more time to get us figures on how much it brings in via licensing fees, as well as legal settlements with companies that have violated the trademark. We’ll update this post once we get the numbers from them.

Last September, the Daily News reported that the state took in more than $1.83 million in “I Love NY” licensing fees during fiscal year 2011 alone, a $1.5 million increase from 2010. Empire State Development Corporation spokesman Austin Shafran called I NY a “multimillion-dollar licensing program that continues to grow,” with proceeds used to promote statewide tourism.

“I don’t think anyone can put a succinct dollar value on it. It’s millions and millions of dollars in my perspective” says Andy Levine, president of Development Counsellors International, a firm that specializes in place marketing. “‘I ♥ NY’ is probably the most successful branding campaign in the world and it’s more than just the money from licensing and litigation. The campaign has kept tourists coming for a long period of time and that’s part of what it’s worth to New York.”


Licensing alone continues to bring in substantial revenue: the state collected $1.6 million last year, almost three times what it had received just five years ago in 2007.

ESD has told the World to file a Freedom of Information request to obtain data on the amount of money the State has been paid from trademark objections and any legal settlements.


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