Welcome back to the “Spotlight”! With Thanksgiving just around the corner (brace yourself, midsection), I wanted to pause to take a moment to reflect on all that for which I have to be thankful. Certainly my family, health and employment to name a few. But, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to thank my outstanding colleagues for their support in getting the “Spotlight” off the ground in its inaugural year. I literally could not have done it without you. In observance of Thanksgiving, I will be skipping next week’s edition but back at it (and presumably a little huskier) for the first week of December. In the meantime, grab a plate and allow me to serve you up a heaping portion of knowledge in this week’s “Spotlight.”
- In a follow-up to the “Spotlight” blog post from just two weeks ago (don’t you love when that happens?) regarding director Quentin Tarantino’s sale of “Pulp Fiction” related NFTs, Hollywood film studio Miramax has sued Tarantino alleging that its rights are being infringed, notwithstanding Tarantino’s reserved rights in the film property. In other news, Quentin Tarantino probably will not soon be making films with a certain Hollywood film studio: Miramax.
- In a follow-up to the “Spotlight” blog post from just three weeks ago (I’ve now likely lost my entire audience other than my wife and my parents), the Cleveland Guardians Roller Derby team have settled their lawsuit against the Cleveland Guardians Major League Baseball team. Financial details of the settlement are undisclosed, but both organizations will continue using the Cleveland Guardians name while not winning World Series championships. I’d say “there goes the Cleveland audience,” but neither my wife nor my parents are from Cleveland.
- For the low price of $300 (roughly the cost of a beer and hot dog at a New York professional sports stadium/arena), you can own a piece of the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers. But before you jump at the thought of making money off the cheeseheads, you ought to read the fine print.
What a difference just a few months makes. The weather turns from oppressively hot to cool and crisp. The leaves turn from a healthy bright green to all manners of reds, yellows and browns as they cling precariously to the trees before floating down to the ground. And the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) drafts a new constitution that actually acknowledges a student-athlete may commercially market his/her/their own name, image and likeness. That would have been unthinkable earlier this year, that is, until the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in NCAA v. Alston that non-cash education-related benefits (and, by extension name, image and likeness restrictions) violated antitrust laws. Indeed, Justice Neil Gorsuch might as well have been the author of this draft NCAA Constitution as his guidance in writing for the Court, referenced exactly what the NCAA is apparently deciding to do (albeit by necessity) – delegating rulemaking authority to its member Conferences and Universities. Of course, delegation is in and of itself a coup for the public, as few good things come to mind in recent history that the NCAA actually did itself. This is all to say that NIL is not going anywhere any time soon.
Also not going anywhere anytime soon? The “Spotlight” and yours truly. So for now, let’s check in on what else you should be in the know on this week:
Part of what I love about having a Sports Law practice is exactly what makes it difficult to cram everything I want to discuss into each week’s installment of the "Spotlight." No, it’s not that athletic prowess is not required. Rather, my work is wildly diverse, as it's comprised of many constituent bodies of law. By focusing on just one legal issue, a heap of thought-provoking, topical stories are given short shrift. That is why, to make the Spotlight a little more well-rounded (incidentally, “well-rounded” is exactly why I lacked athletic prowess in my early years), I have decided to retire the “Right of Publicity” section in favor of a broad “Sports” category. This will enable me to cover more ground, and perhaps allow me to sleep at night (my kids have other ideas). With that explanation out of the way, let’s take this souped-up knowledge machine for a spin:
- With this week’s $8 billion acquisition of sports drink brand BodyArmor, Coca-Cola not only shored up its sports beverage portfolio (which already includes Powerade), but also boosted the portfolios of many stars who invested in the brand. Among them, was the late Kobe Bryant, whose estate reportedly netted a whopping $400 million.
- Trailblazing a path for those who come after him is 17-year-old basketball phenom Mikey Williams who has linked up with athletic apparel brand Puma, becoming the first American high schooler to land a global endorsement deal. From the sound of it, his back to school clothes shopping for his senior year of high school will be all taken care of.
- Electronic dance music mega-group Swedish House Mafia forges a partnership with Swedish household furniture retailer IKEA. Exact compensation details of the deal are undisclosed, but it is rumored (by me) that a portion of it will be paid in meatballs and difficult-to-assemble furniture.
- Quentin Tarantino’s name is synonymous with film storytelling from the end, but it may soon be with NFT monetization of “never before seen” clips, repurposing uncut scenes from Pulp Fiction. A Royale with Cheese NFT may soon follow.
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The Sports, Arts & Entertainment group at Foster Garvey provides full service legal representation on sports, entertainment and business matters, including handling transactions related to brand management, licensing, joint ventures, venture capital, private equity, technology, the Internet and new media.