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Hello everyone, this is my first foray into this forum. I'm one of those people thats always got ideas that I think might be successful, but never end up doing anything with them. I've made a resolution to at least research this idea as much as possible and see what I can make of it. I hope someone here can point me in the right direction and help me out; though I'm sure most of what I'm going to ask has already been asked before.

Basically, I have an idea for a catchy sports related slogan that would work for any team of any sport. That brings me to my first question: Does anyone know what the copyright status of various sports teams fonts are? For example, if I were to make a shirt that said "Go Boston" (obviously not my real idea) in the same font that the Boston Red Sox use, would that be a violation of their copyright over Red Sox material?

Next, at the moment, I'm currently thinking of selling them in person (which supposedly a friend of a friend had success with) outside of sports events or something along those lines. Anyone know if there are generally rules against that in most cities? If so, my thinking is just to find the T-shirt vendors that hang around the games and see if they'd be interested in buying them in batches.

Further, what would be the best way of making them? Using one of the online sites such as PrintMojo or doing it myself, buying shirts and applying the design manually?

Hope you guys can help, and thanks in advance to anyone that responds!
 

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Hey Chris, welcome to the forums. Sports themed shirts are a cool idea, but it's good to do a lot of market research before investing too much. Official licensed merchandise is a multi billion dollar industry, so trying to compete with that market is very difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. It's also important to understand the licenses and intellectual property rights that exist in the industry.

Basically, I have an idea for a catchy sports related slogan that would work for any team of any sport.
Do some prelim searching on google, yahoo and the USPTO website and make sure it's truly original and hasn't been used before.

Does anyone know what the copyright status of various sports teams fonts are? For example, if I were to make a shirt that said "Go Boston" (obviously not my real idea) in the same font that the Boston Red Sox use, would that be a violation of their copyright over Red Sox material?
Cities names, like Boston, cannot be trademarked for use on t-shirts. But once you start using fonts and colors associated with a team is where you start risking be sued for trademark or copyright infringement.

I'm currently thinking of selling them in person (which supposedly a friend of a friend had success with) outside of sports events or something along those lines. Anyone know if there are generally rules against that in most cities?
You usually need a vendors permit to sell anything in any city. The exact laws will vary by city and state. Specifically selling outside of sports arenas and stadiums are particularly risky because companies pay big money to be exclusive vendors at sporting events. Sometimes the city may honor those agreements, sometimes they don't. So it's possible to get the permit, but then be chased out or detained by stadium security, who can also confiscate your goods.

If so, my thinking is just to find the T-shirt vendors that hang around the games and see if they'd be interested in buying them in batches.
Sometimes these vendors are legit, sometimes not. Some are selling licensed merchandise, sometimes not. I wouldn't suggest doing business that route. You'd be better off approaching legit retailers in the surrounding areas of the arenas and stadiums. Not only are they reputable businesses, but they will probably buy higher volume and you'd have a lower risk of bounced checks.

Further, what would be the best way of making them? Using one of the online sites such as PrintMojo or doing it myself, buying shirts and applying the design manually?
There are many threads on the forums about the different print methods. My suggestion would be finding a local printshop who can screen print or do direct to garment printing. Depending on what volume you are doing, it's not terribly expensive to outsource your printing and it's a good bet that you'll end up with a professional quality product.
 

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Hey Chris, welcome to the forums. Sports themed shirts are a cool idea, but it's good to do a lot of market research before investing too much. Official licensed merchandise is a multi billion dollar industry, so trying to compete with that market is very difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. It's also important to understand the licenses and intellectual property rights that exist in the industry.
Well, my idea would not really directly compete against any particular merchandise; its a whole new idea (as far as I can tell). Best case scenario, I'd love for one of the big players to just buy me out. :)

Do some prelim searching on google, yahoo and the USPTO website and make sure it's truly original and hasn't been used before.
I've searched the phrase and many variations on it, and have not seen any merchandise with it.


Thanks for the heads up!
 

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Well, my idea would not really directly compete against any particular merchandise; its a whole new idea (as far as I can tell).
It's about market share, not new ideas. Meaning, it could be incredibly unique and creative, but if you are marketing towards sports fans, then you are competing against other companies that market to sports fans.

Best case scenario, I'd love for one of the big players to just buy me out.
Believe me, I'm rooting for you. But you may as well buy a lottery ticket instead. VF bought Majestic to get the on-field MLB license. Adidas bought Reebok to get the on-field NFL, on-court NBA and on-ice NHL licenses. It's going to take more than a clever phrase to get bought out.

Again, I don't mean to sound negative, I just think it's important to map out a business plan, marketing plan, budget and to fully understand any challenges that face your plans.
 

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I was thinking alot of the team fonts were custom fonts. But there are many fonts out there that are very similiar to the originals if not the same. I see a tons of merchandise with the city name and team colors without mention of the team name. It's everywhere so there is plenty of competition and for the most part you can't get the same price as you would for licensed apparel. Just some things to think aabout. But if you do have an original idea get it registered and see where it takes you. Good Luck.
 
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