SBD/Issue 165/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Shot Heard ‘Round The Court: Branca Sues Steiner Sports

Branca Files Lawsuit Over
Contract With Steiner Sports
Former Brooklyn Dodgers P Ralph Branca is suing Steiner Sports Marketing in New York State Supreme Court for fraud and “misrepresenting the terms of an agreement the parties negotiated four years ago,” according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. A contract between Steiner Sports and Topps “calls for Branca to be paid $48,000 for autographing 4,000 cards.” But Branca, who gave up the “Shot Heard ‘Round The World” home run to former Giants player Bobby Thomson, which won the ‘51 NL pennant, claims that he signed a separate contract with Steiner -– “acting as an authorized agent of Topps –- that would only pay” him $25,000. Branca said that he “never saw the $48,000 deal Steiner signed on his behalf with Topps, and alleges Steiner pocketed the $23,000 difference without his knowledge.” But Steiner Sports President Brandon Steiner said that Branca knew his company “wasn’t working for free.” Rovell noted Steiner’s commission was “almost 10 times” the 10-15% agents normally get for similar deals. The suit also names Topps as a defendant, as Branca’s attorney Brian Caplan believes his “client’s rights were not correctly conveyed and Branca still signed the cards.” Topps execs said that the company has “done nothing improper whatsoever in this incident.” Also, Topps “could seek their own legal recourse against Steiner” (ESPN.com, 5/18).

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