No Professional Team Names For Kids

Major League Baseball is at it again. Apparently the $3.3 BILLION a year in revenue from selling licensed merchandise isn’t enough. Now they’re going after little league teams that use MLB team names. Not logos. Names:

Local youth baseball teams — and thousands of others across the country — can’t use those nicknames on their uniforms unless the jerseys are officially licensed.

For years, local leagues have understood they can’t use MLB logos on their uniforms without buying a licensed product or getting permission, but the use of team names hasn’t been as much of an issue.

But around Memorial Day, MLB stopped a dealer who had been sewing names like Cubs and White Sox on the jerseys of a Chicago youth league.

This is greed pure and simply. MLB absolutely has the power to create an arrangement where this isn’t an issue with their vendor. Besides – I can’t imagine the reaction of a judge when MLB tried to say a little league team couldn’t screen TIGERS in block letters on a little league uniform:

In Greensboro, Pella Stokes, an attorney, sponsors five youth teams of varying ages called the Tops Tigers. None use licensed jerseys.

“It had nothing to do with any … Major League team,” Stokes said of the name selection. “It just matched Tops.”

Stokes doesn’t believe MLB can trademark a name like Tigers.

“To argue that you could protect an animal name, I think they would have a difficult time,” said Stokes, who is in general practice. “It’s a fact of nature.”

The scary part is that 40% of little league teams already pay the extra money to buy licensed uniforms. Wow.

I wonder what the position of MLS would be. Again – you can’t use the logos. But the names? We absolutely have teams named the Galaxy, Dynamo, Revolution, etc. I would hope MLS would take a more sensible position. I may just email them to find out.

H/T FoothillsdFutbol @ NC Soccer Forum

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  1. That’s absolutely nuts! i know we have gone and bought MLB merchandise to match my sons’ little league teams. Being on those teams increased my sons’ interests in catching “their” pro teams.
    I’ve always thought our rec soccer teams should follow suit and give the teams pro team names.

  2. Sam,

    This type of thing is unfortunately very common. I wish they would figure out that stuff like this builds sales for them vs taking them away. Forcing youth teams to spend big $$$ on licensed uniforms isn’t going to increase your sales, it’s just going to turn kids/parents off and they’ll change their team name to something else, meaning NO upward sales effect with kids buying the real stuff named after ‘their team’ Sad.

  3. That’s pathetic. It’s all about the money. I realize major league baseball is a business, but since the mid ’70s everything has gotten to the point where the greed of both the owners and the players (and their union) is just outrageous. Growing up in southwest Louisiana nearly all of we local kids were Houston Astros fans, but I remember playing Little League baseball for a team called the ‘Orioles’ for a couple of years. The jerseys had ‘Orioles’ written in orange cursive just like their major league counterparts in Baltimore. But I don’t remember any lawyers coming to Dixie from Baltimore and threatening we little leaguers with lawsuits or anything. How things have changed for the worse in 35 years!!!

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