SBD/Issue 46/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Schutt Protests Against NFL Players Wearing Riddell Chinstraps

Riddell Only Name That Can Be
Displayed On Players' Chinstraps

Legal representatives of helmet manufacturer Schutt sent a letter to the NFL last week telling Commissioner Roger Goodell "to immediately end deceptive practices on the branding of helmet chin straps," according to Darren Rovell of CNBC. Riddell "has owned the exclusive rights to brand NFL helmets with its logo since the mid 1980s," and though no helmets are "allowed to display the words 'Schutt' on it, players are permitted to wear any company's helmet on the field." As a result, Schutt officials are "concerned about the practice of branding its helmet with Riddell chinstraps." The officials said that they "know Riddell has a deal with the league, but believe players wearing Schutt helmets while wearing Riddell branded chinstraps is 'misleading' and 'deceptive.'" Schutt Marketing Communications Manager Glenn Beckmann indicated that "more than 30 percent of NFL players are wearing Schutt," including Giants QB Eli Manning, Colts WR Austin Collie, Eagles WR DeSean Jackson and Titans RB Chris Johnson. Rovell noted tensions are "high between the two companies since Riddell sued Schutt, claiming that two of Schutt's helmets were patent infringements on its concussion-reducing technology." A federal court in Wisconsin in August "returned a $29 million verdict in favor of Riddell." Meanwhile, Beckmann said that "on-the-field branding isn't the most valuable part of Riddell's longstanding deal with the league." Beckmann: "Riddell pays off its payment to the NFL each year thanks to sales of mini helmets to collectors. We aren't allowed to make those" (CNBC.com, 11/12).

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