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When I was interviewed for this article in Athletic Management magazine several years ago, about a trademark dispute between a college and a high schooil using the same team name, I had made the point that we were going to see more high school/college name disputes because, unlike twenty years ago where high school athletics were in effect, small, single-site business not in interstate commerce, media such as regional sports TV networks and the Internet were putting high schools into interstate commerce. Thus we would see more overlap between high school, college and even professional team names, and therefire more naming conflicts Upon re-reading this article I see that the author saw fit to leave that insight out, so cancel my subscription.
Today’s NY Times reports on “Marketers Joining the Varsity” noting a surge of marketing dollars into the high school athletics market, which further erodes any ‘branding’ distinction between the high school, collegiate and professional sports markets. One result of this mega-sports licensing market will be more conflicts, and another will be ‘inherited’ dilution, as many Lions, Tigers and Bears will now encounter other teams who have been using the same names as them, some for decades or longer.