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Spotlight: organization and marketing of sporting events in the USA

By September 30, 2021April 19th, 2022Sports events

All the questions

Marketing of sports events

i Types of rights and ownership of rights

Professional sports are undoubtedly big business in the United States. The total size of the professional sports market in the United States, which was over $70 billion in 2021, consisted of revenue from four main streams: ticket sales, media rights, sponsorships and sponsorship. merchandising.40 The NFL, MLB and NBA are the three highest-grossing sports leagues in the world, and the NHL ranks sixth.41 Most property rights are treated the same in sport as in other areas.

The primary source of income for sports in the United States is media rights.42 The leagues are the holders of these rights under the Copyright Act 1976, which grants copyright protection to live broadcasts of sporting events.43 Ownership of these valuable rights has allowed American sports leagues to negotiate multi-billion dollar broadcast rights with television networks.44

For individual athletes, sponsorships offer a method of profiting off the field. Forbes The magazine estimated that as of 2021, America’s top five earning athletes – Dak Prescott, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry – have secured sponsorship deals collectively worth $190 million.45 Individual athletes, franchises and leagues can earn additional revenue by endorsing or licensing equipment such as shoes, jerseys and athletic gear, a market valued at over US$6 billion.46

ii Contractual provisions for the exploitation of rights

The SPCs of every professional sports league in the United States require athletes to cede the right to their likeness to the league or team. A typical example is the NFL’s SPC, which requires athletes to license their image for the promotion of NFL football or specific organizations within it, and grants the NFL the exclusive right to the image of groups of players, while reserving the athlete’s right to seek outside endorsements as an individual.47 These contracts may also prevent players from endorsing or even wearing certain brands; the NFL fined players for wearing brands such as Under Armor and Beats by Dre on the field when the league entered into sponsorship deals with their rivals.48