Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 2, 2021
The game that must not be named

There’s a really big sports game on Sunday. It will be played on a green field with white lines and posts on the end of the field. 

The players will wear uniforms of different colors while trying to kick, run with, or throw a brown inflated sports accessory up and down a flat piece of ground. 

In the middle of the game the players will pause the really big game for a show, but look out for costume malfunctions — they’ve been known to happen before. 

This will be the 55th time this large sporting event has occurred. It will be broadcast on television. Lots of people usually watch it and they eat a lot of food too. 

That’s why grocery stores have displays and sales on colossal sports event food this week. 

We could tell you it is the “Super Bowl®,” but only if there is not a better term for it.

The term is owned by the National Football League, which is zealous in protecting its trademark, according to the National Newspaper Association. 

We received an alert from the National Newspaper Association this week that the proper name for this enormous thing may not be used in promotional or advertising copy without written consent of the NFL. 

“Advertisers who wish to run promotional copy around the Sunday game must use less direct references like the “Big Game.” Liability for violations can accrue both to the newspaper and to the advertiser,” wrote the NNA.

It is OK to use Super Bowl® in news stories where there is no better term to describe it, but the name should have the ® attached, according to the NNA.

Kind of reminds me when a large collection of international games had an attorney write to small businesses on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. 

Some of the businesses were in the Olympic National Park or the Olympic National Forest. Some simply in the shadows of the Olympic Mountains.

The attorney demanded that they cease and desist from using the name “Olympic” in their name, because the large sports event he worked for owned the trademark for that name.

After hearing some negative responses from some of the businesses, the games that had the letter sent to the businesses decided to be generous and allow these businesses to use their names without charge, if their name related to the geographic features with the same name.

I read about this when I lived in Olympia, Washington. It was in our daily paper, The Olympian, which I understand has been printed under the “Olympian” name since 1889, about seven years before the first modern large international games with a similar name.

I never heard if the federal government paid a royalty fee for the name of their park and forest.


Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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