SBD/October 24, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Riddell Offers No Comment On Report NFL Will Not Extend Its Sponsorship

Riddell recently declined to settle a class action suit brought by former NFLers
Riddell President Dan Arment declined to confirm the NFL would end its nearly 25-year sponsorship and licensing agreement with the helmet maker when the deal expires at the end of the season. Speaking last night after a Riddell promotional event for the company’s impact sensory device, Arment said Riddell looks forward to a continuing relationship with the NFL. Asked if that meant something other than the relationship of the past, Arment said Riddell could not comment on ongoing talks. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was quoted on MMQB.SI.com this week saying, “We’re not going to be extending our agreement with Riddell or anybody else. ... We actually put [on] a deadline, negotiated it back and said, ‘We want this over.’ ... We had to use quite a bit of leverage to get there, but we got there.” When questioned on what Goodell was quoted saying, Arment said he would not comment on speculation. Asked how the commissioner's comments were speculative, Arment again reiterated Riddell would not comment about ongoing talks. An NFL spokesperson wrote in an e-mail, “We do not have anything further to say beyond the Commissioner’s comments. Agreement expires after this season.” Currently players can wear helmets other than Riddell, and about one-third do so, but only Riddell’s logo can appear on the helmet. That has led some to suggest that the NFL is endorsing Riddell, which has become problematic because of the ongoing concussion issue. Riddell, unlike the NFL, recently declined to settle a class action lawsuit brought by thousands of former NFL players. Riddell’s original '89 deal, reached when many helmet makers were going out of business, was signed in perpetuity. At some point in the last several years, the NFL was able to redo the contract so it would expire after the '13 season.
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