Arguably the most important sports event in the U.S.A., the Super Bowl moves billions of dollars, mainly through advertising.
The National Football League (NFL), organizers of the event, have created and grown the brand of the Super Bowl to what it is today.
In 1969, the NFL trademarked “Super Bowl”. Since then, it has made a conscious effort to enforce this trademark.
Even small businesses that have used “Super Bowl” to advertise watch-parties, have received cease and desist letters from NFL lawyers.
In 1969, the NFL trademarked “Super Bowl”.
Famous cases include that of 2007, when the NFL sent a cease-and-desist letter to a church in Indianapolis, where they were charging 3 USD to watch the event in the church and were using the term “Super Bowl” to advertise it.
use of the
The NFL argues that using “Super Bowl” or any of the items protected by the NFL, might make consumers assume that that they are endorsing said events or products, when that is not the case.
Critics highlight that not many people believe a small bar, holding a “Super Bowl” watch-party, is sponsored by the NFL.
In any case, it could imply illegal ambush marketing and free ride over the mark’s reputation
using “big game”
as an alternative
the “big game”
This strong enforcement of the “Super Bowl” trademark has made smaller businesses refer to this event as the “Big Game”, to avoid any legal repercussions.
María A. Pava