In this blog we will be breaking up the important sections of an endorsement deal and in doing so, we will be determining the positive and negatives of these sections. This topic is very important, especially for athletes, due to the fact that is will make you cognizant of what is being offered and what you should be looking for as athlete or an individual who represents an athlete. After reading this, the hope is that you will have the viable tools to make such a drastic decision like a sports endorsement deal.
Endorsement deals with athletes started back in 1905 with the emergence of a great baseball player in Honus Wagner, who was the National Batting Champion for 3 out of years early in his career. Wagner became friends with Bud Hillerich, the wooden bat producer for Louisville Slugger, who decided to form and sign a contract with Wagner so that he could use Wagner’s signature on all the new bats. Wagner got a nice contract, and Louisville Slugger’s prices increased by drastic amount. Soon after in 1922 another deal between Wilson Sporting Goods and golfer Gene Sarazen arose, resurfacing the idea of giving a player their own line of sporting goods. Sarazen was the trailblazer when it came to lengthy endorsement deals, leading to lifetime deals like the one between David Beckham and Adidas or Lebron James and Nike. The reason this history and background is so important is because it is prominent in understanding where endorsements started and how far they have come to the current day.
Breaking up the Endorsement Contract
While there are multiple important sections through the endorsement contract, there is a few sections that are very imperative to keep an eye out for and read through thoroughly. The Definitions is usually the first section of the contract and consists of explanations or vague guidelines that the two parties signing must follow. This covers topics such as contract territory and products of endorsement. The next important section is the Grant and Protection of Endorsement Rights, which, by signing, solidifies the company’s ability to use the athletes name in all the production of endorse products. Another important section is the Appearances section that covers when and where the athletes have to appear for endorsement purposes, commercials, photoshoots, etc. Following this is the Special Rights of Termination, which highlights the potential reasons why this contract will be terminated. The events follow along the lines of but are not limited to: death, rule changes, any major illegal acts, or incarceration. The final pivotal section, especially for the athlete is the Compensation section which elicits the way the athlete will be paid or reimbursed for their work or just for their name. It is important to focus on these group of sections, amongst others, because they can affect our well-being in a radical manner.
Finding the positives and negatives/Weighing your Options
Now this is focused on finding what benefits you as well as makes sense for you in your life, in all the above sections that are found in all endorsement contracts. To begin, with the Grant and Protection, it is important to read these so that there is nothing outlined that allows the company to take advantage of you as the athlete in any way shape or form. For example, you want to make sure that the company is not using your name in any negative way, like in a negative commercial that goes against something you believe in. The next section to look intently at is the Appearances section which, again, covers when and where the company can request your attendance. It is important to make sure that they respect your time. Be sure to make it known that you need a certain amount of time before being called in to a commercial or anything used for endorsement. It is important to read this section, so the company doesn’t have full control of your time. The final section that deserves your focus the most is the Compensation section. Here you want to make sure that you are being paid in an appropriate manner that reflects the work coupled with money that you made the company. It is important to weigh your options when it comes to these sections because of ramifications that can occur if they are not balanced for both parties involved.
From this post, you should gain more knowledge on what an endorsement consists of ad how to go about analyzing and determining what to do with certain endorsements. Through the brief history of sports endorsements, you should now understand the importance of endorsement contracts between athletes and brands. With this information, you as an athlete should be able to go in any potential endorsement or any contract deals with confidence and knowledge to know you are making the right decisions.
“The History of Athlete Endorsements: Part One.” Opendorse, 8 Dec. 2015, opendorse.com/blog/athlete-endorsement-history/.