College Athlete Representations in Sports Video Games
Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, Vol. 6, pp. 57-80, 2013
25 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2013 Last revised: 1 Nov 2016
Date Written: March 15, 2013
This study sought to gauge college sport video-game consumers’ ability to identify National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college football players, whose likenesses are featured in such games. The study also measured whether consumers perceived the use of athletes’ likenesses as sponsorship of these games, as well as whether certain demographic, usage, and other criteria may influence their positions on whether athletes should be compensated for such use, in excess of their current athletic scholarships. Findings point to the ability of consumers to identify athletes in the video games overall, and at a significantly higher percentage for nationally known football players whose likenesses are utilized in the games. Unsurprisingly, knowledge of college football as a sport, and of the video game series itself, significantly correlated with increased likelihood of identifying digital representations of real-life players. These and other findings, and their implications for NCAA policy and pending litigation related to student-athlete likenesses, are discussed.
Keywords: NCAA, Rights of Publicity, Amateurism, Intellectual Property, Empirical legal research, survey evidence, likeness, video games, digital representation, consumer behavior, likelihood of confusion
JEL Classification: C42, C49, D11, K10, K19, K20, K29, K30, K39, K40, K41, K49, O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation