Why Your Ad Can’t Refer to the Football Championships Why Your Ad Can’t Refer to the Football Championships
Business owners can't refer to the big final football game without a risk of being sued. So send us your alternative name ideas using... Why Your Ad Can’t Refer to the Football Championships

If you pay to attention to commercial advertising, you might notice that many companies don’t ever directly refer by name the final big Sunday game in American football. You know, the one that rhymes with ‘Duper Bowl.’ Well, the reason is because the actual name is trademarked by the National Football League® and they tightly manage the term. According to SB Nation, the League will happily send cease-and-desist letters to any company, large or small, that uses the term without their permission. And, they will charge a hefty fine if you don’t.

In 2007, leading up to the final big game between The Indianapolis Colts® and the Chicago Bears®, the NFL® sent a cease-and-desist letter to an Indiana church group that advertised a party with an admissions fee. Even after agreeing to no longer charge for the event, or even use the words, the NFL® objected to the church’s plan to show the game on a projector screen bigger than 55 inches. This lead many local groups cancelling their own football party plans and advertising, exactly the intended result.

So, if you’re a small business owner looking to capitalize on the trend and hype each year that comes with the national football championships, whether it’s for a large event or promoting a sale, you would need to shell out a ton of cash first. Advertising using any of their terminology in print or online, and yes, even social media, without their permission isn’t worth the hassle and legal risk that may come with it. Trust me. Our legal department checked.

For companies and marketers who don’t want to pay big bucks to get the rights to use the terms, these trademark regulations lead to some interesting workarounds, half of which I have used in the first paragraph. Former Comedy Central host and now new Late Show host Stephen Colbert once made fun of these regulations by referring to his game coverage as the Superb Owl, comically using the hashtag #SUPERBOWL.

If you’re still set on capitalizing on the 50th championship game this February, you might want to consider these alternatives used by other big brands instead.

  • Pro Football Championship
  • The Big Game
  • Championship Sunday
  • Championship Football Game
  • The Football Finals
  • The Final Playoff

But as for me, I personally enjoy a more comical approach. I like the sound of Awesome Chalice. It’s got a nice ring to it. I think I’ll host an Awesome Chalice party this year and pick up some bags of dollar store chips and salsa. (I used the thesaurus and came up with some clearly better additional alternatives below. Feel free to use them.)

  • Fabulous Basin
  • Great Vessel
  • Splendid Container
  • The Super Duper Bowl (must be said with jumping heel click and fist pump)

If you have even better (or more ridiculous) alternatives for the big football game, please share this article on social media and use #AwesomeChalice. You may additionally Tweet us @LendingTree with your suggestion and the hashtag.

We’ll give a shout out to some of the best and funniest names that are come up! Go Panthers!

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Mike Ouyang

Mike Ouyang

Mike is a PR manager, writer, and content editor for LendingTree focused on creating informative and digestible financial content for the everyday consumer and reader. Mike graduated from College of Charleston and received his MBA from Winthrop University. Follow him on Twitter @MikeOuyangTweet