Welcome back, and in case you’ve been living under a rock (unless it’s a "30 Rock"), two of the biggest sporting events will command millions upon millions of eyeballs for NBC this weekend with the Winter Olympics (already in full swing in Beijing) and the National Football League’s (NFL) Super Bowl LVI due to kick-off on Sunday between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams (and Madison Avenue Agencies). However, at least for the time being, both Olympic and NFL news have largely been focused on matters taking place “outside the lines.” At the Olympics, a medal ceremony in figure skating was postponed for legal reasons – namely a member of the purported gold-medal winning Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team having a suspected positive doping test. Already on thin ice for widespread doping violations, one wonders whether ROC is once again up to its old tricks or whether this is an isolated incident by one triple (k)lutz. Or perhaps, whether the figure skating team will be heralded as mettlesome or admonished as medal-less. In the NFL, former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores’ lawsuit alleging discriminatory hiring practices remains a hot button topic. Just this past week, we learned of Commissioner Roger Goodell voicing displeasure with the NFL’s lack of diversity in coaching and front office positions, while two of the NFL’s co-defendant teams, the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans hired minority coaches Mike McDaniel and Lovie Smith, respectively. Meanwhile, media mogul Byron Allen is rumored to be preparing a bid to buy the Denver Broncos (another co-defendant), and in so doing, make the Broncos the first Black-owned NFL team. While those moves – calculated or not – may undermine Flores’ case, in just two weeks, Flores’ taking a stand has seemingly sparked soul-searching, for which Flores should be commended. From Olympic torches and stadium lights, let’s jump into the "Spotlight."
- How many comedians does it take to have streaming services pay joke-writing royalties just as they do songwriting royalties? With the Estates of George Carlin and Robin Williams, together with a handful of living court jesters suing Pandora, we may yet find out.
- Mega singer-songwriter, Sia joins forces with a plant-based pet food company on a mission to tell traditional meat-based pet foods, “see ya.”
- Although Amazon is far from an incumbent in the sports broadcasting space, in Al Michaels, they may be bringing aboard an industry veteran to handle its Thursday Night Football broadcasts. Waiting in the wings if Michaels doesn’t get the gig? Al-exa.
- A digital plot of land in the metaverse neighboring Snoop Dogg’s sold for the low price of $450,000. Fitting that with respect to the metaverse, what some view as an investment, others see as money going “up in smoke.”
With the Super Bowl coming up, it is important for brands looking to capitalize on football-themed promotions to remember that the terms “Super Bowl” and “Super Sunday” are registered trademarks guarded by the National Football League (NFL) more closely than a shutdown corner on a wide receiver.
Because there is a fine line between permissible fair uses of Super Bowl and Super Sunday (e.g., in on-air banter and news and sports reports) and impermissible promotional uses that may infringe the NFL’s trademark, here are some guidelines to keep you from going “offsides:”
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.