BigRed618

Who gets paid for defunct team merch?

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The other day I bought a St. Louis Browns hat, and that got me wondering, who gets the money when someone’s buys merchandise for a defunct team? In the Browns' case, I’m figuring some of it goes to the Orioles since, strictly as an entity, the Browns and Orioles are one and the same. I’m not quite as sure about teams that are truly dead and have no present day incarnations, such as the ABA's Kentucky Colonels, NASL's Detroit Express, or any USFL team.

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It’s all negotiated in a contract of some sort, so it may differ depending on the situation. Many leagues also share profits from merchandise, but there are even exceptions to that, like merchandise sold on-site at the team shop vs. online or at a store like Dick’s. Generally speaking, though, the trademark owner would be the entity receiving the royalty, which may be the current iteration of that team, the city they played in, the league they played in, or even some random person who decided to resurrect a defunct trademark.

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The Big 4 sports leagues own a variety of trademarks. The only notable exception being the Dallas Cowboys, who are separate. Your Browns hat was split between every MLB team.

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I'm guessing either the league(which is then split), or the current team. 

 

Ie, Orioles would get the money from your browns purchase. 

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Also, I think old logos and names are property of the NHL and NBA. I think that was the issue with the Charlotte Hornets and Hartford Whalers recently. 

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