Merchandising is the methods, practices, and operations used to promote and sustain certain categories of commercial activity. In simpler terms the planning and promotion of sales by presenting a product to the right market at the proper time, by carrying out organized, skillful advertising, using attractive displays, etc. could be termed merchandising.
Sports Merchandising is the way professional sports teams and organizations market and deliver their products to the consumer. This is done by combining the aspects of merchandising and marketing into a sports spectrum.
The origination of the marketing discipline known as sports marketing , coincided with the advent of the first MLB game ever televised on August 26, 1939.
the first full-service sports marketing and sponsorship agencies were founded in the early to mid-1970s with Millsport LLC.
Commercialization of the modern Olympiad in the Summer Games of 1984 in Los Angeles, gave a major boost to Sports merchandising.
With Liberalization, the concept of Sports marketing moved to India in the 1990’s.
The most distinctive and recognized sports event mark in the world
The Olympic Rings enjoy special legal protection at
the international and national levels around the world .
In the UK, the Rings are protected under the provisions of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act of 2006 .
This Act also protects the use of the Olympic Motto and the use of such expressions as 'the Games', 'Olympians', and 'Olympiad', as well as 'strap lines' in advertisements
All these measures are designed to provide Olympic brand protection and combat various forms of so-called 'Ambush Marketing' for the benefit of the Official Sponsors of the Games.
Trademark may be granted provided the basic legal requirement of distinctiveness is satisfied.
Trade mark may be granted in respect of, for example, distinctive sounds, as in the case of the Australian Football League, which has registered the sound of a football siren for football and associated services.
Names, associated logos of sports events & mascots qualify, in principle for registration as trademarks again subject to their being distinctive.
Help’s organizers & Sports clubs seek exclusivity in selling their merchandise and recovering a part of the astronomical sum of money spent by them.
Sports Licensing and Merchandising is, a vast and complex subject and would merit from importance given to it.
Where Sports Personality Licensing is involved, the Agreements also need to contain a so-called 'Morality Clause' to guard against all kinds of foreseeable contingencies affecting the value of the association with the sports person concerned. Any breach of the provisions of this Clause may trigger termination of the Licensing/Merchandising Agreement.
Furthermore, attention also needs to be paid to the financial and fiscal provisions of the Agreement, especially where the Sports Licensing/Merchandising Programme is an International one transcending several national boundaries
Finally, it is advisable to include a 'Dispute Resolution Clause' referring disputes to arbitration or mediation
Sports broadcasting rights around the world could be categorized the most important of all other sports rights, because it contributes to major share of the revenue .
The major means of protecting Sports broadcasts is through copyright.
There are different methods of exploiting them, including collective selling and buying, as well as 'pay per view' and 'free to view' arrangements.
It includes so-called new media rights, including the 'streaming' of sports broadcasts on the Internet’ and on the 'third generation' mobile phones.
Victoria Park Racing and Recreation Grounds Co Ltd v Taylor and Others the BBC lost their case against Talksport, who were broadcasting 'live' commentary of a 'Euro 2000' Football Championship on their radio station using 'live' pictures from BBC television to enable them to do so. Such 'off tube' radio broadcasts do not infringe any property rights in the live television broadcast, and so the Court refused to grant the BBC an injunction to stop such broadcasts by Talksport.
Arsenal Football Club v Matthew Reed Mr Reed had sold memorabilia and souvenirs likely to appeal to Arsenal fans, bearing Arsenal Football Club's registered trademarks from a stall at the entrance to the stadium. He used a notice to indicate that the products sold by him were not official products from Arsenal Football Club. Arsenal sued for infringement of its registered trademarks and for acts of passing off. Mr Reed admitted to having used signs identical to the trademarks in the course of trade. The High Court held that use of the Arsenal marks was not trade mark use. The Arsenal marks were not used by Mr Reed to indicate the identity of the supplier of the goods. His customers did not think that Mr Reed's products came from or were endorsed by the club. Mr Reed's customers perceived the Arsenal marks 'as a badge of support, loyalty or affiliation' in relation to the club. The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal, though ECJ gave a contrary decision.
Logos belonging to various Sporting events & Clubs can be protected under the Trademark Law according to decision in ICC Development International Ltd V. Arvee
Sports Merchandising yet to make a significant mark in India.
IPL has contributed majorly to the growth of Sport Merchandising in India.
Legal Remedies should be made stronger to prevent “Ambush Marketing”