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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Bonds Signs Solo Licensing Deals: After pulling out from the MLBPA licensing scheme in January, Barry Bonds has signed twenty solo licensing deals. Bonds raised some ire by being the only player not to sign onto the MLBPA agreement, which gives the association the power to market each player's name or image, often for apparel, trading cards and video games. Because of his stardom, Bonds has the ability to negotiate individually, thus receiving better terms on his own than he would have gotten as part of the MLBPA. Legally, all players individually own the rights to their names and images, though baseball and the MLBPA own the rights to the team names and logos.

Some companies, however, have refused to negotiate individually with Bonds, stating that it sets a bad precedent:

    Baseball card companies like Fleer/SkyBox International LP and Topps Co. won't have Bonds on cards. Major video game makers like Electronic Arts Inc., ESPN Videogames and Midway Games Inc. won't have a Bonds player in their offerings.

    "It would set a bad precedent if we worked around" the baseball players union licensing agreement and struck an individual deal with Bonds, said an executive at one game maker. "It would give other players the idea to do" the same, which would make it more difficult for game makers to include pro players in the future, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Hat Tip: Sports Business Daily.


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