UC Law SF Communications and Entertainment Journal


Julie A. Garcia


Sports merchandise licensing has become a major aspect of the sports business. The four major sports leagues currently use a form of revenue sharing to split the royalties received from the multibillion dollar sales of licensed sports merchandise. The current system for dividing the proceeds has raised a number of questions; namely, do the antitrust laws prohibit sharing of such proceeds, and, if not, is the current system for dividing money fair to all parties? This note examines some of the possibilities as to the future of merchandising rights. They could become the subject of congressional legislation, as did the national television rights in the 1960's or the current system for splitting the money into even portions could be discarded and each team would be responsible for its own marketing and revenue, which, for some of the smaller market teams, could prove too costly. As a solution to the dilemma, the author proposes that the league jointly license the merchandise for sale on a national and international scale and then allow each team to market their own logo.