SBD/February 16, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

P.J. Fleck Buys Rights To "Row The Boat" Phrase From Western Michigan for $50,000

Fleck will allow Minnesota to use "Row The Boat" as long as he's with the school
The agent for Univ. of Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck yesterday "reached an agreement" with Western Michigan for the school to transfer rights to the "Row The Boat" phrase, which Fleck used but was trademarked by the university, according to Darren Rovell of The trademark "will be transferred" to agent Bryan Harlan and his Harlan Sports Management. Harlan and Fleck are then "expected to allow Minnesota to use the mark as it sees fit, including on merchandise, as long as Fleck is with the school." In return, Fleck will "give Western Michigan at least $50,000 through five payments of $10,000 to endow a scholarship for a football player" (, 2/15). WMU said that it "retains rights to 'Row The Boat' in material and displays to recognize" Fleck and the school's "achievements for a program" that went from 1-11 in '13 to 13-1 with a Cotton Bowl appearance last season (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/16). WMU AD Kathy Beauregard: "We really wanted to come out with a win-win. ... There are no restrictions on us still being able to use it, so when we talk about using it in conjunction with our historical season, bringing the community together, the rally cry behind it, the story behind it is always going to be there. And we definitely will celebrate it as we celebrate what we've gone through during coach Fleck's tenure" (, 2/15). Fleck said, "You look at how it made an impact for a Kalamazoo community forever. Even though it comes with me (to Minnesota), they can keep all the things that are up and celebrate it and really use it in terms of the memories of what it was able to do" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/16).
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