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The Current Legal Playing Field for Super Bowl Promotions and Advertising

Media law firms have written for years on the issues arising from Super Bowl-related promotions and advertising. 

These legal concerns stem from the NFL’s jealously guarded Super Bowl trademark and logo.

“Given the value of the Super Bowl franchise, it is not surprising that the NFL is extremely aggressive in protecting its golden goose from anything it views as unauthorized efforts to trade off the goodwill associated with the mark or the game,” said Mitchell Stabbe, an attorney specializing in trademark law at TAB Associate member law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer.

The money at stake is huge.

The NFL receives hundreds of millions of dollars from licensing the use of the Super Bowl trademark and logo, as well as billions in royalties each of four broadcast television networks pay annually for the rights to broadcast NFL games.

These royalties also cover the right to broadcast the NFL’s biggest post-season game on a rotating basis through 2032.

Stations looking for guidance on promotions and client advertising involving this coming weekend’s big game should read Stabbe’s recent BroadcastLawBlog post, in which he reviews the current state of legal play for:

  • Advertising that merely refers to the Super Bowl
  • “Super Bowl” events or parties
  • Sweepstakes and giveaway naming and prizes
  • Names of programs
  • Special advertising and disclaimers 

Stabbe also looks at “how close is too close?” as well as broadcasters’ past efforts to “get cute” with the Super Bowl trademark.

The article is an excellent and entertaining summary of the potential perils for broadcasters. 

To view it, click here 

Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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