SBD/May 21, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Documents In O'Bannon Lawsuit Detail Former NCAA Players' Licensing Deals

Documents unsealed yesterday in the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA show that defendant Collegiate Licensing Company “had licensing agreements with more than 80 former college athletes” from ‘95-’10, according to Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. CLC “produced a document listing athletes who had agreements with replica jerseys, calendars, photographs, hats, apparel, digital prints and trading cards.” The players “ranged from stars" such as Pro Football HOFer Dick Butkus and Broncos QB Peyton Manning to "far lesser-known players.” NERA Economic Consulting Senior VP Lauren Stiroh in an expert report for the defendants said that product manufacturers secured licenses from the NFLPA “to use former college athletes' names, images and likenesses” and the union “distributed the revenues to the former college athletes.” Lawyers for the plaintiffs “have previously acknowledged that college athletes retain some rights, but not all rights.” CLC and EA, which have both “tried so far unsuccessfully to be dismissed from the case, filed more documents showing that plaintiffs in the suit have made money off their college likeness after college.” Former UConn G Tate George’s deposition showed that he “received $500 for releasing video rights” to Denver-based Thought Equity Motion, now called T3Media, in ‘07. The clearance was “for footage in a Coke Zero production of George's famous buzzer-beating shot” in the ‘90 NCAA Tournament against Clemson. Stiroh's report showed that royalty payments “have been made from T3Media to about 200 former men's college basketball players" (AL.com, 5/20).
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