Can advertisers run a ‘March Madness’ or ‘Final Four’ promotion in your newspaper?

The words “Final Four” and “March Madness” are among the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s list of registered trademarks.

The unauthorized use of these and other words registered by the NCAA could lead to legal action. In conjunction with its championships, the NCAA has developed licensing and marketing programs that make use of its trademarks and championships marks. Such programs are carefully controlled and aggressively protected to be consistent with the purposes and objectives of the NCAA.

Any direct or indirect usage of the NCAA’s championships, tickets or marks/logos (including references to the name of the NCAA championship) requires prior written consent of the NCAA and its corporate marketing staff. Federal regulations support the NCAA’s efforts to prohibit the unauthorized use of the NCAA’s name and trademarks, or any use of NCAA championship tickets in sweepstakes, promotions or contests or any other unfair attempt to associate with or exploit the goodwill of the NCAA championship event.

A merchant selling products that have already been licensed by the NCAA to official corporate partners or merchandise licensees can promote the sale of these items in advertising, provided the appropriate wording is used, and the advertising is submitted by the NCAA corporate partner to the NCAA corporate marketing staff for approval.

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