A couple of weeks ago, Peyton Manning accepted an offer to become the starting quarterback with the Denver Broncos. For a few days, everyone speculated as to whether the Broncos would trade the popular Tim Tebow and keep him as a back up. Now, we know that Tim Tebow will play for the New York Jets. Many wonder whether Tebow will challenge incumbent Mark Sanchez for the starting job as the Jets quarterback.
Few realize that a different battle erupted last week as a result of the Tebow trade. Sports apparel giant, Nike, has taken one of its major competitors, Reebok, to court over Tebow jerseys. After Tebow became a Jet, Reebok started producing Tebow jerseys. This would not seem to be a big deal to the casual observer.
The problem lies in the fact that the Reebok contract with the NFL was due to expire on March 30, 2012. (News report indicated that the agreement expired March 30. Nike, however alleges that the Reebok’s agreement with the NFL expired March 1).
Although a couple days remained on the Reebok contract, on March 28, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel granted a temporary injunction in favor of Nike. The effect of the injunction blocked Reebok “from manufacturing, selling or otherwise marketing New York Jets-related apparel with the name Tebow on it.” In the lawsuit, Nike argued, among other things, that it owns the rights to Tebow’s name.
Further litigation in this case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Nike Inc. v. Reebok International Ltd., Case No. 12-cv-2275. A copy of the Nike Complaint can be found on Scribd at this link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/87127661/Nike-v-Reebok-Tebow.
I wonder if these jerseys would have any value a few years from now since Reebok sold a small handful over the last couple of weeks.