Legal Battles for Sponsorship Exclusivity: The Cases of the World Cup and Nascar

Sport Management Review, 14(3), pp. 287-296, 2011

17 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2013

See all articles by Joe Cobbs

Joe Cobbs

Northern Kentucky University - College of Business

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

The proliferation of sponsorships in the sports marketplace poses a challenge to corporate sponsors attempting to establish a unique brand position apart from the clutter of commercialization. As a result, the competition between corporate rivals for sponsorship exclusivity (i.e., the exclusive right to sponsor a particular sports team, league, or event) in the world’s highest profile sporting arenas has begun to spill into the courtroom. The purpose of this paper is to review the cases of MasterCard v. FIFA, and AT&T v. NASCAR, and discuss the relevance of these contract disputes to sponsorship scholars and practitioners. Specifically, the courts’ finding of irreparable harm faced by the excluded sponsor offers an intriguing legal recognition of the theorized goodwill and inimitability of corporate affiliation with a specific sponsored enterprise. The cases also contribute an opposing view of best practices, where legal ramifications arise from treating sponsorship as a property-based resource and neglecting the relational dimensions of collaborative communication, trust, and commitment emphasized by contemporary sponsorship theory.

Keywords: sponsorship, law, corporate rivalry, contracts, strategic alliance

Suggested Citation

Cobbs, Joe, Legal Battles for Sponsorship Exclusivity: The Cases of the World Cup and Nascar (2011). Sport Management Review, 14(3), pp. 287-296, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2322583

Joe Cobbs (Contact Author)

Northern Kentucky University - College of Business ( email )

Highland Heights, KY 41099
United States

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