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Sports, students and intellectual property protection

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2021 | Intellectual Property

College athletes have new opportunities ahead of them. In addition to the chance to play for a school team, sports participation on a collegiate level could open doors for earning potential.

The NCAA’s recently approved name, image and likeness (NIL) policy is a game-changer for students, making it possible for amateur athletes to compete with professionals in capitalizing on their prowess.

What’s in a name?

Consumers tend to trust what’s familiar to them. Rather than a product endorsement from someone you’ve never seen before, you might be more apt to purchase items pitched by a celebrity.

Many professional athletes earn a tremendous amount of money from brand endorsements. These deals aren’t limited to companies directly involved with their sport. Some of the most considerable earnings from athletic endorsements include:

  • Serena Williams. The tennis champion represents brands like Nike and Wilson Sporting Goods on the court. However, she’s also a spokesperson for Beats Electronics, JP Morgan Chase and Bumble.
  • David Beckham. The retired soccer star represents brands like Adidas, Gillette and Armani. His sponsorships still equate to an estimated annual value of more than $17 million.
  • Floyd Mayweather. During the past 10 years, the boxer earned $915 million – a world record, and that’s after cutting ties with his promotion company.

Profiting from the NIL policy is not to interfere with awarded student aid. However, varying state laws may affect high-performing athletes’ prospects.

Intellectual property protection will be necessary for both companies and the influencers behind their brands. Does this legislation present a level playing field? Ironically, considering the social media platforms at hand, it may be too soon to say.