Merchandise, branding and trademarks are at the center of a brewing legal battle between Barstool Sports and the NFL.
On Wednesday, Barstool Sports said it will issue a cease-and-desist order to the NFL demanding that the pro football league stop selling its “Sundays Are For The -- ” merchandise, which fills in the blank with an NFL team name.
Barstool Sports, a satirical sports and men’s lifestyle blog, says the NFL’s merchandise is a blatant rip-off of its “Saturdays Are For the Boys", a trademarked slogan that appears on merchandise like T-shirts. Last year, Barstool Sports trademarked “Saturdays Are For The Boys.”
Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, told the New York Daily News that he is prepared to sue the NFL if it persists in selling its “Sundays Are For…” merch. “It’s on,” Portnoy said. “And if they don’t take them down, we’re going to pursue legal action.”
The threats are the latest salvos in ongoing tensions between Barstool Sports and the NFL. As the Daily News reports, the NFL prohibited Barstool from attending Super Bowl events earlier this year and allegedly enraged NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell by selling merchandise with a Goodell clown face on it.
“Everything related to the NFL, we’re banned from...we always get the message the NFL frowns upon working with Barstool Sports,” Portnoy said.
For promotional product distributors, the case is a reminder to tread carefully when trying to tap into product and branding trends. You don’t want to incur legal wrath by emulating too closely trademarked properties.