Sports brand management used to be a niche in the legal community, primarily because it is often a side venture of an established benefactor or corporation. However, more and more athletes are engaged in building their own name as a brand, while existing companies involved in sports are protecting their legal interests over their brands, as the field has been steadily growing as a commercial venture that is very susceptible to abuse.
What are the common legal issues that any sports brand – amateur or professional—may face? Here are some of them:
- In order for the sports brand to maintain their solid image, they may hire the services of individuals, such as an athlete, a coach, or a waterboy/watergirl. If the manager fails to distinguish the type of employment that they were engaged in, they may end up suing the brand for unfair labor practices.
- Suppose a sports company decides to expand to other fields, will they allow other stakeholders to franchise their brand? To what extent will they allow the franchisees to use their products and the image for profit? Will franchising the brand even be a great idea to begin with? These questions may not be answered by someone with a marketing perspective in mind.
- Crisis Management
- Let’s face it, the act of the faces behind the sports brands can be construed as the act of the company itself. If an athlete is involved in a controversy regardless if this was done out of its personal or professional capacity, the sports brand is almost always required to respond or risk facing the backlash of the fans and the public.
Nowadays, sports brand management is not primarily entrusted in the hands of a marketing team. Because of these legal issues, it is wise to retain the service of an attorney who can take a look at these concerns and save the company from potential harm. After all, a sports brand primarily relies on reputation in order to succeed.