The University of Kansas and its athletics department brought suit against Larry Sinks, a manufacturer and retailer of merchandise doing business as Joe-College.com. Joe-College.com sells merchandise that reference Kansas Athletics programs, including T-shirts with irreverent sayings, as well as references to drugs and alcohol. Plaintiffs allege that the defendant’s goods infringe the registered and unregistered trademarks of the University of Kansas, including its crimson and blue color scheme. The university asserted claims for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition. Approximately 140 T-shirt designs used by the defendant were at issue in the litigation. This case illustrates the expanding scope of protection afforded to trademarks in sport that are used to communicate and distinguish a particular team’s brand. The case also explores the viability of the First Amendment as a defense to trademark infringement for retailers who produce merchandise that allows sports fans to express their message.
Steve McKelvey and John Grady
Companies invest millions of dollars to become “official sponsors” of major global sporting events. The tremendous publicity and consumer audiences generated by such events provide an attractive marketing opportunity for companies other than the event’s official sponsors who seek to associate themselves in the minds of the public with the goodwill and popularity of these events. This activity, known as ambush marketing, poses significant legal and business challenges for sport event organizers seeking to protect both the financial investment of official sponsors and the integrity of their sponsorship programs. With rising sponsorship stakes, event organizers have become increasingly proactive in their efforts to combat ambush marketing. This article examines the implementation and effectiveness of a variety of evolving sponsorship program protection strategies including: pre-event education and public relations initiatives; on-site policing tactics; contractual language in athlete participation and spectator ticket agreements; and the enactment and enforcement of special trademark protection legislation.
Haylee U. Mercado and John Grady
The push to engage in the “green movement” has now shifted from a passing thought to a central focus of higher education. Environmental sustainability has the capacity to be an integrative discipline and a multidisciplinary project all at once because of the statistical, scientific, theoretical, and management dimensions that provide ties between the classroom and the community. This article discusses how sport management can meet both the university and industry demands of integrating environmental sustainability within sport management courses as well as across the curriculum using a problem- or course-based approach. Teaching environmental sustainability as a pedagogical innovation in sport management courses will not only meet new university priorities but also help address the changing demands of sport organizations.
Thomas A. Baker, Kevin K. Byon, Beth A. Cianfrone and John Grady
The purpose of the study was twofold: a) to conceptualize and measure student-athlete “likeness” in the NCAA Football sport video games (SVGs) and b) to examine the impact of use of likeness on SVG consumption (i.e., purchase intention and word-of-mouth). Data (N = 621) were collected from NCAA Football SVGs users with experience in purchasing and playing the game. Descriptive statistics, t test, factor analysis, and hierarchical regression analyses showed that student-athlete likeness featured in NCAA Football SVGs were well perceived by gamers. The results indicated that dimensions of the student-athlete likeness were empirically supported in that the factors (i.e., identity value and identity use) were found to be positively related to purchase intention and word-of-mouth. Results were discussed with regards to theoretical and practical implications for sport managers in the legal and consumer behavior perspective.