SBD/Issue 103/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Blast From The Past: Upshaw Denies NFL Retirees’ Allegations

    NFLPA’s Upshaw Denies
    Retirees’ Claims In Lawsuit
    NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw denied allegations in a federal class-action lawsuit that claimed Players Inc. “has improperly represented retired players and could owe them tens of millions of dollars,” according to Alan Schwarz of the N.Y. TIMES. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by former NFLers Bernie Parrish and Herb Adderley, “questions why only 358 players received any licensing revenue in 2005 from licensees like apparel and video-game companies.” Upshaw said that only players whose names and likenesses were “actually employed by licensees were entitled to royalties under Players Inc.’s voluntary group licensing arrangement with retired players.” He added that “barring human error, all deserving former players had been paid, and that the other 90[%] generated no income due them” for ’05. Upshaw: “If you generate revenue, you get it — it’s that simple.”

    SEEKING REPAYMENT: Adderley said that he had “never been sent royalties” for a deal allowing his name to be included on a line of Reebok apparel. But Upshaw noted that Reebok had “decided not to use Adderley and, therefore, no money was due him.” NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler said that Parrish “never signed the group licensing agreement and so was not due royalties from Players Inc. licensing deals.” Parrish noted that some video games feature past NFL players’ likeness without using their names, and Ronald Katz, attorney for the retired players, argued that even if names of past players are not displayed, Players Inc. “behaves in the marketplace as if it represents all former players” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/16).

    Print | Tags: NFL, Reebok
  • Sprint Nextel To Be Sole “SportsCenter” Sponsor Friday Night

    Sprint Nextel will be the sole sponsor the 11:00pm ET telecast of ESPN’s “SportsCenter” tonight, serving as the show’s exclusive advertiser. Sprint Nextel has produced over eight minutes of branded commercial content for the program and will highlight exclusive products and services such as NASCAR Nextel FanView. The company also will debut exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage of NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray, Elliott Sadler and ’06 Nextel Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson taken during the filming of Sprint Nextel commercials that will air during Fox’ broadcast of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Sprint Nextel Dir of Nextel Cup Series Marketing Dean Kessel said, “This is a wonderful opportunity to not only showcase our products and services but also present a unique perspective on our sport and the drivers, which is equally important to us as proud ambassadors of NASCAR.” Sprint Nextel joins Nike and Xbox as the only companies to collaborate with ESPN to sponsor an entire “SportsCenter” broadcast (THE DAILY).

  • Marketplace Round-Up

    With reports the CFL may sell the naming rights to the Grey Cup, acting CFL Commissioner Gene Dunn said, “The CFL regularly reviews the value of its assets and for many years has discussed the value of entitling the Grey Cup. At this point, the league has not progressed beyond the discussion stage and will continue to monitor the growing value of entitling events” (CFL).

    MISSING THE TARGET: Tiger Woods Foundation President Greg McLaughlin denied a report that Woods skipped this weekend’s PGA Tour Nissan Open “because he wanted to move his tournament, the Target World Challenge, from December to November in a battle with” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. The London Daily Mail reported a potential date change was “causing friction” between Woods and Finchem, and Woods skipped both the Nissan and the Mercedes-Benz Championship in response (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/16).

    SOX IT TO ME:’s Jayson Stark reported the Red Sox ordered just 288 of each of four different T-shirts featuring P Daisuke Matsuzaka for its Spring Training team store. A week after they arrived, one style “was sold out completely” and the other styles were available only in XXL. Red Sox Merchandising Manager Doreen Arsenault said, “If I’d known there would be this much excitement about him, I’d have ordered 1,000 to start with, of each one” (, 2/15)....The Red Sox’ deal with Japan-based Funai Electric Co., in which the company will have placement on the backdrops where Matsuzaka and P Hideki Okajima conduct interviews, “will earn the club about $900,000 this season” (BOSTON HERALD, 2/16).

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, CFL, ESPN, Nissan, PGA Tour, Walt Disney
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