SBD/April 11, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Reebok, Nike Settle Litigation Over Sale Of Jets QB Tebow Apparel

Reebok has agreed to repurchase shipped Tebow Jets merchandise from retailers
Reebok and Nike have "agreed to settle litigation over the sale" of Jets apparel featuring QB Tim Tebow, according to Chad Bray of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. A stipulated judgment filed yesterday indicated that Reebok will recall Jets apparel featuring Tebow's name and number "from its distribution system and agree to repurchase shipped Tebow Jets merchandise from retailers." Reebok also "agreed not to manufacture, market, donate or advertise such merchandise." An agreement between Reebok and the NFLPA to "market merchandise featuring player names and numbers expired on Feb. 28." A separate "decadelong agreement between the apparel maker and the NFL to market NFL jerseys expired on March 31." However, Reebok had "hoped to add Mr. Tebow's name and number to its existing inventory of blank Jets jerseys and other apparel and sell them under a provision of those agreements that allows it to continue to market those items for a limited time frame" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/11). The AP's Larry Neumeister noted U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Castel "immediately blocked Reebok from selling" 6,000 Tebow-Jets jerseys and 25,000 T-shirts it was distributing to stores "while he heard evidence in the case." After a daylong hearing last week, he "left his restraining order in place and announced that he believed Nike would ultimately prevail in its claims" (AP, 4/10).

ENSURING A WINNER: BOXINGINSIDER.com's Charles Jay noted Nike signed Timothy Bradley to a one-year endorsement deal "a few weeks ago, in advance of his June 9 fights against Manny Pacquiao," with whom Nike also has a deal. Nike in the past has been "known to sign a lot of athletes, and this is their way of making sure that they will be on the winning end of that fight, which will undoubtedly lead to something bigger for the winner." For Bradley, the "money part of the thing is a bit unclear right now, but it is known that Nike will supply Bradley with training gear, along with [his] trunks and robe for the fight." Bradley does "not appear to be a potential problem athlete for Nike," while the same cannot be said for Pacquiao, "who is facing tax difficulties, among other things, in his native Philippines, although it is uncertain how much weight Nike really puts on this" (BOXINGINSIDER.com, 4/10).
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