SBD/February 16, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBPA, Top Players Meeting To Discuss How To Market, Profit Off Collective Images

Bobbleheads figure to be a key area of opportunity for players
About 100 of the NBA’s top players and the NBPA tomorrow will “huddle about something they haven’t been able to discuss for 20 years: how to market and profit from their own collective images,” according to Matthew Futterman of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. NBPA Exec Dir Michele Roberts “pushed hard to win back those rights” in the most recent CBA, which was agreed upon in December. NBPA CMO Jordan Schlachter and the union are “already pursuing a host of deals that don’t currently exist.” The “main area of opportunity is clothing and other merchandise that doesn’t include team logos or NBA trademarks, such as t-shirts, caps and bobbleheads.” The big-ticket licensing items -- jerseys, video games and trading cards -- will all “require companies to pay the league still because they will want to use the NBA marks and names.” But they “will have to negotiate a second deal with the players -- who can hold out for what they believe is a fair payment from, say, a trading card company -- because it would be very hard to sell a trading card that didn’t have a player’s image.” Another “potential avenue will be wide-ranging deals that would allow all NBA players’ names to appear on jerseys and t-shirts of the colleges they played for.” Mobile online video games that “use player images and names are popular in Asia and are a likely target for the union” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/16).
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