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Sports & Entertainment Spotlight: University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball Guard Paige Bueckers Takes Full Advantage of NIL Era, and the NBA Objects to Use of Unlicensed NBA Trademarks in “Winning Time” HBO Series

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It’s the first anniversary of this often irreverent, at times poignant, occasionally (?) humorous(???), and always informative labor of love I call the "Sports & Entertainment Spotlight." The first year is said to be the toughest, that tries the mettle of a relationship and well, the honeymoon phase is over. So, if you’ve made it this far, you’re in it for the long haul. Of course, always happy to pick up new friends along the way. As we embark on the second year of the "Spotlight," complete with some swanky, new branding (hat tip to the Foster Garvey marketing mavens). I would love to have an opportunity to connect with you, the reader, and hear your thoughts and feedback on how I’m doing (other than from members of my family), what topics matter the most to you, etc. In that vein, I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at So as I await your outreach to imbue me with the knowledge to help me upgrade the lightbulbs in the "Spotlight," here is your anniversary present:

    • University of Connecticut women’s basketball guard Paige Buecklers is taking full advantage of the name, image and likeness (NIL) era in college athletics, cashing in on her brand and perhaps most significantly, bringing more interest to women’s athletics. Amazing what can happen when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) loosens its grip (albeit begrudgingly).
    • In a collision of Sports & Entertainment, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has voiced its objection to the use of NBA team logos and other trademarks in the biopic HBO series “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” without any trademark license or clearance. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics objected to there not being a biopic series about them.
    • Think before you post. Rapper Nas is the latest defendant against copyright infringement claims by photographer and serial plaintiff Al Pereira (who has filed about 500 copyright infringement lawsuits in the past few years), having posted on Instagram — without a license — a 1993 black and white photo by Pereira of himself (Nas) and fellow rappers 2pac and Redman. Related tip: next time you’re at a friend’s wedding, in lieu of shopping for a gift on your friend’s registry, give your friend a license agreement to use any photos you take of your friend at the wedding.  Sure, you’ll lose a friend, but at least that former friend will have the security of knowing you won’t sue them. And that’s the greatest gift of all. 
    • Disgraced Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein made headlines for having smuggled Milk Duds candy behind bars. I am not sure whether that is as much an indictment of LA County jail security as it is an endorsement of the quality of LA County jail toothbrushes. Either way, I am going to go out on a limb and guess that Milk Duds confectioners The Hershey Company will not be using this press for its next marketing campaign. 

Endorsement Deals, Sponsorships & Investments

Investing in Women’s Sports: The Right Thing to Move Brands Forward
March 8, 2022 via Sportico - Business (subscription may be required)
Today’s guest columnist is Christine Franklin, executive vice president of marketing and sponsorships at Octagon. Brands shouldn’t invest in women’s sports just because it’s the right thing to do. Today it’s important to recognize that the future is female.

NCAA Tournament Advertising: Use of Trademarks and … One More Thing (2022 Update – Part 1)
March 8, 2022 via Broadcast Law Blog
With the 2022 NCAA Collegiate Basketball Tournament about to begin, as faithful readers of this blog know, broadcasters, publishers and other businesses need to be wary about potential claims arising from their use of terms and logos associated with the tournament.

Frito-Lay, Tiffany among brands that hit Cleveland's streets for NBA-related ad campaigns during All-Star Game
March 7, 2022 via Biz Journal
While sneaker brands mostly skipped their routine All-Star Game build-outs in Cleveland last month, a number of other NBA-affiliated companies mounted large efforts in and around the city, marking a return to the experiential marketing, which largely disappeared during the pandemic.

Snoop Dogg joins FaZe Clan, taking on a number of roles
March 7, 2022 via Sports Business Journal
North American esports and gaming lifestyle company FaZe Clan will add Snoop Dogg as a member of the organization's talent network, and the rapper will join the company's board of directors upon closing of the merger with B. Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp.

NHL MVP Connor McDavid Signs BetMGM Deal in U.S. Sportsbook First
March 4, 2022 via Sportico - Business (subscription may be required)
Connor McDavid, the NHL’s points leader and reigning MVP, has signed an endorsement deal with BetMGM that the company says is the first between a U.S. sportsbook and an active athlete in the four major North American leagues.

Sports Betting Biz Turns to Content, Distribution to Escape CAC Hell
March 4, 2022 via Sportico - Business (subscription may be required)
BetMGM recently announced a strategic partnership with SportsGrid. The deal will see BetMGM odds, content and talent integrated across the free, 24-hour-a-day sports wagering streaming network’s slate of original live programming.

Nike, Under Armour and More Retail Companies Are Halting Sales in Russia
March 3, 2022 via Sportico - Business (subscription may be required)
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is prompting some retail companies to take action, Footwear News reports. Earlier this week, Adidas said it was suspending its long-term partnership with the Russian Football Union (RFU), the governing body that oversees football in Russia.

Paige Bueckers' NIL impact making waves in women's basketball
March 2, 2022 via Sports Business Journal
The beginning of the NIL era “arrived in a whirlwind” for UConn G Paige Bueckers, but there was “no doubt she'd benefit,” according to Carroll & Vorkunov of THE ATHLETIC.

Sports sponsorship up 107 percent in 2021, drove an average 10 percent lift in purchase intent among fanbase: Nielsen Global Sports Marketing Report
March 2, 2022 via Business Insider
Nielsen Sports has released ‘Fans are changing the game’, its 2022 global sports marketing report. The report reveals new behaviours fans have adopted during the pandemic to connect with the sports and teams they follow, whether through increased social media activity, betting, co-watching, or more.


NBA ‘objects’ to ‘Winning Time’ trademark use, but legal options would be messy
March 9, 2022 via the Athletic
HBO’s new series, “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” is full of the kind of salacious detail and behavior that drives television audiences. After months of promotion, the fictionalized 10-part series premiered on Sunday night to about 900,000 viewers and mostly positive reviews.

MLB’s lockout has canceled games, and the ticketing industry is prepared to handle the disruption — for now
March 8, 2022 via Biz Journal - Sports
Among baseball fans, John Moriarty is an outlier and a reflection of the masses all at once. The 34-year-old web developer is part of a small group of fans that shelled out $2,700 for a full-page ad in the Feb. 2 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Aaron Rodgers, Packers agree to four-year deal as QB becomes highest-paid player in NFL history
March 8, 2022 via CBSSports
Aaron Rodgers will be back with the Green Bay Packers in 2022 -- and potentially beyond. The reigning NFL MVP agreed to a four-year, $200 million extension with the Packers that will make him the highest-paid player in NFL history with a $50 million average annual salary.

MLB lockout: MLBPA makes first proposal since canceled games, league claims offer 'went backwards'
March 7, 2022 via CBS Sports
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association met for more than 90 minutes on Sunday. The meeting included the MLBPA making a proposal, the first since MLB commissioner Rob Manfred canceled the first two series on the 2022 schedule last Tuesday.

Chelsea Frenzy Tests Billion-Dollar Auction Block Against NFL’s Broncos
March 4, 2022 via Sportico - Business (subscription may be required)
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has already spurred major changes for global sport, perhaps none bigger than Russian-born billionaire Roman Abramovich’s decision to sell Chelsea, one of the world’s most valuable soccer clubs.

Tiger Woods Lands $8 Million PGA Prize Without Even Playing
March 3, 2022 via Bloomberg (subscription may be required)
Tiger Woods didn’t play in a single official PGA Tour event last year, but the golf organization still designated him as the face of the sport.

Music Biz

Rapper Nas Dragged to Federal Court Over Alleged Tupac Photo Copyright Violation
March 8, 2022 via Yahoo! News
Rapper Nas and Tupac were not friends in much of the ’90s. While the world focused on the East Coast-West Coast beef, circulating it around the conflict between once friends and now deceased rapper, Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., few remember that the Queensbridge artist was in the mix also.

When Queen & David Bowie sued Vanilla Ice: The top 5 landmark cases in music copyright disputes
March 8, 2022 via Euronews - Top Stories
As Ed Sheeran battles it out in court, denying accusations from two songwriters who accuse him of plagiarism, Euronews takes a look at the biggest music copyright cases in history. Why is Ed Sheeran in court?

Post Malone insists songwriter contributed nothing 'original' to track
March 7, 2022 via Hartford City News Times
Post Malone has insisted a songwriter who is suing him over 'Circles'had nothing "original" to add to the 2019 hit. The 26-year-old star, his producer Frank Dukes, and Universal Music Group were sued by Tyler Armes in April 2020, who was seeking royalties and other money owed from the track.

NAB Says It Hasn’t Heard A Peep From Music Industry Over Its Offer To Restart Royalty Talks.
March 7, 2022 via Inside Radio
It’s said that no response is a response, and in the case of the radio industry’s request to restart negotiations with the music industry over the ongoing radio royalty fight, the silence has been deafening.

British Firm Acquires Entire Catalog Of Folk Icon Leonard Cohen
March 7, 2022 via International Business Times
British song management firm Hipgnosis said Sunday it has acquired the entire catalog of famed Canadian singer-poet Leonard Cohen, in the latest big catalog purchase to hit the music world.

After 40 years, Prince Estate claims band name 'Morris Day and the Time' belongs to it
March 5, 2022 via Los Angeles Times
Were it up to him, singer and bandleader Morris Day, best known for his 1980s funk hits as vocalist for the Time, would be rolling into theaters this year beneath flashing marquees announcing the arrival of his band, “Morris Day and the Time.”

Ed Sheeran, Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid Fight Legal Battle Over ‘Shape of You'
March 4, 2022 via Greenwich Time
Ed Sheeran is fighting a copyright lawsuit over his hit single “Shape of You.” The case, which is being heard in London's High Court, is the culmination of a 4-year legal battle between Sheeran and songwriters Sami Chokri and Ross O'Donoghue.

This week in IP: Only Fools hearing ends, UC Berkeley loses CRISPR patent, and more
March 4, 2022 via Managing Intellectual Property - Copyright
Albright transfers case to Massachusetts; Dua Lipa sued for copyright infringement; Continental loses Avanci appeal; Canopy admits patent not infringed by GW; Embrace injunctions, says US Chamber of Commerce; Federal Circuit overturns ‘Trump too Small’ rejection Singapore SEP review leaves more questions than answers.

Twisted Sister's Dee Snider endorses Ukrainians singing We're Not Gonna Take It
March 1, 2022 via CBC Canada
When Dee Snider found out that some Ukrainians are using a song he wrote as a resistance anthem, he offered his full endorsement. But the rock star had nothing good to say about anti-maskers who sing his song at protests.

Film & TV

Apple Goes Yard With New MLB ‘Friday Night Baseball’ Streaming Package
March 8, 2022 via Sportico - Business (subscription may be required)
A media-rights deal has been in the wind for a while now, but Apple and Major League Baseball on Tuesday made things official, as the tech giant announced it has snapped up the rights to a weekly doubleheader package that will stream on its Apple TV+ service.

Universal Tennis and Amazon Announce Rights Deal and Investment to Elevate Game of Tennis
March 8, 2022 via GlobeNewswire - Business Contracts
Today, Amazon and Universal Tennis ( announced a media rights deal and investment, which will see the two companies work together to drive positive, innovative changes to the sport of tennis.

Gridiron Streaming Fight: Could Apple Beat Amazon To NFL Rights Carriage Deal?
March 7, 2022 via Benzinga - Financial News
Two of the largest technology companies in the world could be set to battle it out on the gridiron.

Sheryl Underwood Inks Multi-Year Renewal at ‘The Talk,’ Development Deal With CBS Studios (EXCLUSIVE)
March 4, 2022 via Register Citizen
CBS is doubling down on its commitment to Sheryl Underwood, the Emmy-winning host of “ The Talk.” Underwood has inked a multi-year deal to remain on the panel of the daytime talk series through Season 15.

Harvey Weinstein Caught With Contraband Milk Duds in L.A. Jail
March 3, 2022 via Variety
Harvey Weinstein was caught with contraband Milk Duds in November, prompting a reprimand from L.A. County jail guards, according to records viewed by Variety.

Second in the buffet line: Upcoming Pac-12 media negotiation could hinge on outcome of the Big Ten’s new deals
March 2, 2022 via East Bay Times - Alameda
Pac-12 fans were understandably distraught during the tense weeks in the summer of 2020 when the conference appeared to take its COVID-response cues directly from the Big Ten — first to eliminate non-conference games, then to postpone the football season and, finally, to return to competition.

NASCAR teams may look for a bigger piece of the revenue pie in next media deal
March 2, 2022 via Awful Announcing
NASCAR’s next media rights contract won’t start until 2025, but those in charge of the sport are preparing for negotiations. When NASCAR begins negotiations with networks next year, they might be negotiating with the race teams as well.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

Jim Marshall LLC Drops “Never-Before-Seen” Jerry Garcia Digital Animation Photo-Sequence and New Digital NFT Images
March 8, 2022 via PRWeb
After a successful launch and sale of two Jerry Garcia NFTs, Jim Marshall Photography LLC, the estate of “the most celebrated and prolific photographer of the 20th century,” Jim Marshall, and their partners Total Digital Group have released another eleven iconic Jerry Garcia digital NFT images.

Celebrity Chef Christian Petroni Releases Edible Pizza NFTs
March 8, 2022 via NFT Evening
Celebrity chef Christian Petroni is posing the question: is it a food NFT if it can’t be eaten? His answer? Pizza NFTs that can be used to access real-life, Sicilian-style pizza, of course! NFT holders have the opportunity to access Christian Petroni’s members-only Petroni’s Pizza Party pop-ups.

Even Dolly Parton Is Making NFTs Now
March 3, 2022 via Harper's BAZAAR
It's Dolly's metaverse. We're just living in it. Dolly Parton is the latest celebrity to make her foray into the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Billboard and Universal Music Group partner to launch NFT project
March 2, 2022 via The Block
Global music brands Billboard and Universal Music Group are partnering to launch an NFT based project for licensed art and access to real-life prizes. Also involved is Unblocked, a crypto startup backed by Jay-Z, Dapper Labs and others. 

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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.
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