Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sponsorship Conflicts: A Growing Dilemma in Sports

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sponsorship Conflicts: A Growing Dilemma in Sports

Article excerpt

BALTIMORE -- The endorsement agreement seemed routine: Three Baltimore Orioles would appear in a regional summer promotion for PepsiCo and take home some extra money to get the oil in the sports car changed.

It became newsworthy when Baltimore management, which has a sponsorship agreement worth millions of dollars with Coca-Cola, protested to the players union.

The dispute frames a growing issue in professional sports: the clash of sponsorships, which are a major source of money for leagues, teams and many players. The Web gets more tangled as more companies pay for the designation of official corporate partner. "I don't know if Joe Average really cares," said John Bevilaqua, a sports marketing consultant in Atlanta. "But the people writing the checks care." The Orioles' grievance is the most recent example of a sponsorship conflict. In September 1996, Coca-Cola backed out of a $1 million-a- year agreement with the Los Angeles Lakers because the team's star player, Shaquille O'Neal, endorses Pepsi. Last week, the New York Yankees and Adidas agreed to drop a lawsuit against Major League Baseball that stemmed from a dispute over the sports-apparel maker's $95 million sponsorship contract with the team. As part of the agreement, Adidas can sign other baseball teams. In March, Baltimore players Rafael Palmeiro, Brady Anderson and Jeffrey Hammonds posed for photographs to be used in a promotion for Lipton Brisk, Mandarin Orange Slice and other Pepsi products. They wore generic baseball uniforms with no team logo or emblem, and didn't consult the Orioles beforehand. Since teams own the rights to their logos, they must give permission for players to wear them in endorsements. In contesting the Pepsi campaign, the Orioles cited a section of all players' contracts that gives teams the right to approve endorsements made during the season. Teams' consent "shall not be withheld except in the reasonable interests of the club or professional baseball," Paragraph 3C states. Officials with the Major League Baseball Players Association said the clause has never been used to prevent a player from doing an endorsement. In the mid-1980s, the NBA Portland Trail Blazers cited a similar clause to block Jim Paxson and Darnell Valentine from appearing in an advertisement. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.