To License or Not to License: That is the Question for Professional Sport Leagues and the NCAA, pp. 160-164

Anita M. Moorman
Marion E. Hambrick

Three recent cases that are currently pending in federal courts assert a variety of legal theories and, at first glance, may seem to bear no connection. However, a common thread links all three legal challenges: the business activity of licensing. These three cases, one of which will soon be heard by the United States Supreme Court, have the potential to dramatically affect licensing practices in both professional and collegiate sport. When one thinks of the sport licensing industry, the first thought may be of T-shirts, jerseys, and coffee mugs emblazoned with familiar names, logos, and mascots. The sport licensing industry ranks as one of the top revenue producers in the licensing world. However, as sport licensing has grown, it has also become more sophisticated, extending into goods and services well beyond the traditional T-shirt, jersey, or branded collectible item (International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, 2009).