The First Rule Of NCAA March Madness Is You Can't Mention NCAA March Madness

from the where's-that-happening?-shhhhhh! dept

What is it with sports leagues that think they have the right to deny anyone from making factual statements? We've seen it (repeatedly) with the Olympics and we've seen it with the World Cup... and now we're seeing it with the NCAA men's basketball tournament, better known as March Madness. This week, of course, some of the games will be played in Syracuse (including, I feel the urgent need to mention, the surprise of the tournament, my alma mater Cornell), and jsl4980 was the first of a few of you to send in the news that local businesses are being told they cannot mention the fact that the tournament is being held there. No local businesses are allowed to "welcome" fans or players for the event. They can't mention the NCAA event is happening, or that we're at the "Sweet Sixteen" level.

Of course, that's all according to the NCAA, which is basically lying. They're abusing the rights that trademark law gives them to try to restrict free speech on factual information, in a misguided effort to squeeze more money out of sponsors, by pretending that only sponsors can mention the event. But trademark law does not give you blanket control over the trademarked terms -- and presenting factual information, or welcoming people to a city by mentioning an event that is absolutely happening there should not be considered trademark infringement in the slightest.

Apparently, in the past the NCAA wasn't as abusive of trademarks, but it's learned a thing or two by watching how other sporting events abuse trademark law, and now everyone seems to be bending over backwards assuming that just because the NCAA forbids something that they have the legal right to do so.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    rw (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 1:30pm

    Keep it up!

    If everyone stops mentioning these events, no one will know when or where they are happening. Eventually, it will be so secret the sporting events won't have any fans, or at least none that can find the venue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 2:26pm

    PSSST!

    "(including, I feel the urgent need to mention, the surprise of the tournament, my alma mater Cornell)"

    Ahem, Northern Iowa would like a word with you please....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 2:44pm

    SHHHHH be quiet

    i want to hear the CEO's head drop

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 2:46pm

    PUBLIC vs PRIVATE

    OK,
    who sold out the rights of a Public event, to become a Private event?

    Isnt the Game in a PUBLIC facility? PAID for by Tax dollars?
    I dont think they BOUGHT out the facility. DID they?
    Did they buy out EVERY AVAILABLE room and BED in the area?? Then sell access to them at 10times the PRICE??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 2:52pm

    Re: PSSST!

    That's the surprise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    Dis is my basset ball, there are many other like it, but this one is mine.

    I gotta a basket ball jones... ohh ohh ohh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    NCAA who?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 3:23pm

    "Welcome to Springtime Insanity!"

    or how about...

    "Welcome to Warch Wadness!"

    See NCAA, it's totally different. Can't sue me now!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    Re: PSSST!

    Ahem, Northern Iowa would like a word with you please....


    Bring it. They were a 9 seed. Cornell is a 12 seed. :)

    But, yes, a fair number of underdog upsets.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 3:37pm

    Re: PUBLIC vs PRIVATE

    The Carrier Dome is owned by Syracuse University, which is private.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    NCAA March Madness, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 3:54pm

    NCAA March Madness

    Ok, I will try my best to not mention NCAA March Madness. Afterall mentioning NCAA March Madness might get me in trouble, so I won't mention NCAA March Madness at all in case the people at NCAA March Madness get upset at me for saying NCAA March Madness.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 5:12pm

    Baseball, too

    NCAA started doing this with the College World Series at least as long ago as last year. Omaha businesses are "not allowed" to post signs that include "NCAA" "College World Series" or "CWS." The NCAA has magnanimously allowed them to use such generic terms as "Welcome, Baseball Fans."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Kevin Bondelli (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    So Much for Publicity

    In a world where publicity and word of mouth advertising dominate, it seems baffling to ban people from giving your "product" free publicity.

    The worst was the Olympics. It is an event that is supposed to evoke an image of being shared by the world, when in fact it's own by a couple of media companies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    DanVan (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 6:15pm

    What an absolute joke

    I really wish more people would take these people to Court and stand up for their rights

    To think that a business can't put the words "March Madness" is ridiculous in every sense of the word

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    eca (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 7:40pm

    ok, THEY CANT DO ANYTHING.

    1. ITS College basket ball..
    2. these are players that DID NOT sign contracts(if they were smart) with the NCAA to display their images. THEY are public people.
    3. Its at a PUBLIC location. City/state/feds PAID FOR IT.
    4. this is a PUBLIC event. The HALL should not be LOANED to them to make MONEY, the CITY/STATE should sell the tickets..

    ALSO consider...THEY ARE OWNED BY CBS..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 6:08am

    Re:

    Warch Wadness-- vull vookies.

    The NCAA appropriated existing terms for the name and the signature round of this tourney- March Madness, Sweet Sixteen both predate the tourney. The shouldn't have to tight a hold on these except when used for Basketball. The next thing you know is that they will go after any alliteration at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Paddy (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 7:12am

    I’m always baffled by things like this. How on earth does it make sense to ban people from mentioning your upcoming event? It’s free advertising, and it’s automatically targeted at relevant groups. When did the organisations that organise and run sports events become more interested in thesponsorship money than the sport? And how can we bring them to their knees and start over again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    known coward, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 7:24am

    see this is where the

    10 billion dollar class action suite against the NCAA for every business, bar and restaurant,that lost revenue because of their fear of the NCAA suiing them, did not marketing that they were welcoming "march MaDDness Guests"

    As in the Ryerson post, this is exactly the kind of case huge multi billion dollar settlements that either bankrupt or severely harm the offending corporations for the good of society at large NEED to occur. If there is no cost to stupidity, stupidity will repeat itself for ever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    known coward, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 7:36am

    would somebody please . . . WAS Re: see this is where the

    TEACH ME ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE. (sheesh)

    can i get a copy editor please ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    bdcrazy, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 7:39am

    You can't advertise March Madness or Sweet Sixteen unless you pay us money. Otherwise people will think we're endorsing them or something and make more money off our trademarked names becoming better fans and more likely to make us more money. Can't have that AT ALL!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 7:51am

    It's Intellectual Property run amok!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    John Mitchell (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 8:52am

    "March Madness" is the NCAA's olympic effort at a world cup in a college teacup

    Like I said. Sue me. I'll still enjoy the sweet sixteen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Joel (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 9:54am

    Incredible...

    This is to show how greedy people really are and that is why the world is in the shape that it is in today... oh the greed!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Danny, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 1:49pm

    ????

    So let me get this straight. I'm bringing a round of a major tournament to a city and I'm going to demand pretty much a word of mouth blackout? Damn that I would've been in that city as soon as the location was set arranging all kinds of publicity. Ticket giveaways to local radio stations. Meet and greet nights at the local schools. Who knows what else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: PUBLIC vs PRIVATE

    "The State of New York provided a $15 million grant in 1978 for the Dome's construction."

    PUBLIC FUNDS, PUBLIC PLACE..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This