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.

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Companies: ncaa

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Comments on “The First Rule Of NCAA March Madness Is You Can't Mention NCAA March Madness”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

eca (profile) says:


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..


Paddy (profile) says:

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?

known coward says:

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.

Danny (user link) says:


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.

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