In what is simply a sporting contest is the grand finale of sports marketing. It's being played tomorrow, Feb 2 2014 in North Jersey and it's called the Super Bowl. However, there are those that think the NFL is way too overbearing when it comes to protecting the name. Unless you pay hefty licensing fees, you cannot advertise or coordinate your business with this event.
NFL investigators will be out across the country, visiting bars and restaurants, looking for those that advertise "Watch the Super Bowl here". Those owners can expect to wind up in court. In fact, if you have extra large screen televisions and have too many people inside your place, while the game is on. you can expect to wind up in court. If you run a small store, you can expect to run into trouble advertising a Super Bowl Sale on your items. In fact, you cannot even advertise "Food and drink while you watch the Super Bowl." Everything is called "The Big Game". Large companies know this.
Some smaller businesses risk getting into trouble thinking they are a local place in the middle of a small town. That may have worked in the past, but with the advent of social media, do you really want to take a chance that one of your customers might slip ? You cannot legally call it the Superbowl, Supper Bowl or anything close,or any spelling close to the official name. Bootleggers are already selling counterfeit NFL and Super Bowl clothing around the stadium.
Some have been caught, others are more low key. John Flood, director of NFL Licensing for the NFL said bootlegging costs the NFL "Millions of untold dollars". While that official sweatshirt may cost you $50.00 , a knockoff can be had for $15.00. The quality will leave a lot to be desired but for some that come to the North Jersey/New York area, they just saved money. When counterfeit merchandise is spotted in a store, it's sent to Flood's office who will send them a cease and desist letter.
Once it gets closer to game time, and the person has set up a stand and is a fly by night operation, the merchandise is just confiscated. That is why smart bootleggers never keep their entire stash with them, having only a few of each item. A quick phone call or text to a nearby accomplice allows for restocking . It's a cat and mouse game.
With T shirt makers selling shirts cheap, bars may be tempted to charge admission . With the cost of the admission to the bar, the people get a free souvenir Super Bowl party t shirt. That is illegal. It is legal to have a t shirt with a football and the bars name on it. Anything with the name Super Bowl is not. Some t shirt companies have advertised their ability to make "Super Bowl t shirts". These have been quickly addressed by the NFL. If a bunch of neighborhood guys want to go to the guys house who has the biggest television and have their own Super Bowl T shirts, they are technically breaking the law. Will they get caught? Probably not, unless one of them works for the NFL.
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