In July 2012, Adam Silver, the deputy commissioner of the NBA announced plans to allow corporate logos on team jerseys.  If the plan is formally approved, the ad space will be 2.5-in.-by-2.5-in. and will be placed below the left shoulder. This would be significant because prior to this year, none of the American big-four sports (the NBA, MLB, the NFL or the NHL) had contemplated providing
ad space on their players’ uniforms. 

The decision to allow advertisements to be placed on NBA members’ uniforms could undoubtedly generate large revenue per annum, but a bigger concern will be the intellectual property disputes that could arise from the deal. 

Is there a likelihood that the venture could create sponsorship confusion for basketball fans? If more than one brand advertises on a single player’s uniform, could this create confusion over corporate association and dilute the brand?  These are all important questions to consider as this initiative proceeds to fruition.

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© 2012 Nissenbaum Law Group, LLC

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