Why Your Ad Can’t Refer to the Football Championships

If you pay to attention to commercial advertising, you might notice that many companies don’t ever directly refer by name the final big Sunday game in American football. You know, the one that rhymes with ‘Duper Bowl.’ Well, the reason is because the actual name is trademarked by the National Football League® and they tightly manage the term. According to SB Nation, the League will happily send cease-and-desist letters to any company, large or small, that uses the term without their permission. And, they will charge a hefty fine if you don’t.

In 2007, leading up to the final big game between The Indianapolis Colts® and the Chicago Bears®, the NFL® sent a cease-and-desist letter to an Indiana church group that advertised a party with an admissions fee. Even after agreeing to no longer charge for the event, or even use the words, the NFL® objected to the church’s plan to show the game on a projector screen bigger than 55 inches. This lead many local groups cancelling their own football party plans and advertising, exactly the intended result. So, if you’re a small business owner looking to capitalize on the trend and hype each year that comes with the national football championships, whether it’s for a large event or promoting a sale, you would need to shell out a ton of cash first. Advertising using any of their terminology in print or online, and yes, even social media, without their permission isn’t worth the hassle and legal risk that may come with it. Trust me.

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