YES it is True, the NCAA has Trademarks. You can’t say “March Madness”, you can’t put it in an email from your station, etc, just like the Super Bowl. And yes it’s always been that way. Although the last several years they have been ramping up their legal action. But confusion remains, because it’s more than March Madness you can not say, there’s lots of things you CAN NOT say in commercials OR promos… period. Just like the Super Bowl, and the songs played on radio, there always remains the confused and/or misinformed client, sales person, and of course even production people… So here is the legal dope from real attorneys.*** Please see disclaimer below ***
You Can Not Use any of NCAA Trademarks. In sponsorships, marketing, and promotions, avoid using NCAA or team trademarks, or any related protected words, logos, copyrights ANYWHERE… On-Air, In Print, on your Station’s Website, email, or anything that could be considered from your station.
Only official NCAA Corporate Partners and Corporate Champions have the right to participate in ticket giveaways, sweepstakes, and contests using any of the above. Even if your station purchased the tickets to a tournament game, or you GM is giving away “the tickets they bought” a judge won’t buy it. Any and ALL giveaway/sweepstakes/contest must be done in connection with an official NCAA Corporate Partner or Corporate Champion and must be approved by the NCAA and CBS.
Stations can only accept third party advertising that uses NCAA trademarks, logos and/or footage from official NCAA Corporate Partners or Corporate Champions. Before accepting NCAA-related advertisements from third parties, please confirm that the advertiser is an official NCAA Corporate Partner or Corporate Champion.
Yes that means if you get a dub from across town saying you didn’t produce it won’t necessarily protect you.
Can a Jock talk about it?! Yes, yes, and No according to the NCAA. Your station must have obtained official press credentials to report “news” while the game is on-going. When the games over, you can report the “news” of the game, the winner, the score, and “newsworthy” information from the game.
Questions? Please contact your Station Lawyer
*** Disclaimer: Although I did talk with more than one broadcast lawyer about this, the rules and guidelines are something YOUR station lawyer and company should guide you on. I’ve gone more towards the safe and legal end above and mean this blog as a public service to help the stations and production people (like you and me) better understand the dangers above. The question of IF they would catch you, is a risk I would not take and only you and your station can. I know stations and people in small towns that have been sent legal letters and major markets that had one slip by without notice. Better safe than sorry, better you know your risk… than have someone loose their job over it. ***