The Players Choice Group Licensing Program
The MLBPA’s “Players Choice” group licensing program utilizes the collective marketing power of Major League Baseball players to assist licensees and sponsors who want to associate their brands and products with the excitement that Major Leaguers can provide.
The MLBPA holds the exclusive, worldwide right to use, license and sublicense the names, numbers, nicknames, likenesses, signatures and other personal indicia (known as “publicity rights”) of active Major League Baseball players who are its members for use in connection with any product, brand, service or product line when more than two players are involved.
These rights include instances where the publicity rights of three or more players are featured on a single product (for example, a single poster featuring three or more players) or where three or more players are featured on individual products within a brand or product line (for example, three separate posters, each of which features only one player, offered in a given year). Also included are promotional uses in which players are utilized to promote the brand, products or services of a third party, including in connection with corporate sponsorship, advertising, promotional materials, sweepstakes, contests, premiums, events or other programs.
Among its other benefits, the Players Choice licensing program protects the rights of players from exploitation by unauthorized parties. It provides marketing services few players could provide for themselves and facilitates the licensing of products. Through this program, the MLBPA selects licensees to manufacture high-quality products, reviews and approves all products, promotes licensed products to enhance the image of players and supports retail programs to boost sales.
Primary product categories are baseball cards and collectibles, video games and digital products, apparel such as jerseys, caps and T-shirts as well as a wide assortment of novelty items. Promotional programs include such partners as Pepsi, T-Mobile, DirecTV, Taco Bell, Papa John’s and others. The licensing program also includes special events such as the Players Choice Awards (the only awards voted on strictly by the players, and the first of the post-season sports awards programs to be broadcast on television), in addition to MLBPlayers.com, the Players Choice on the Web.
Revenues from the Players Choice licensing program are utilized to pay expenses of the program and to support MLBPA programs, including the players’ charitable foundation, the Players Trust. With the authorization from the Executive Board of the MLBPA (consisting of player reps from each Club), proceeds from each calendar year are distributed to the players on a pro rata basis, according to the number of dues-paying days accrued by each player on an active Major League roster or disabled list during that year. At the players’ direction, licensing shares also are distributed to Major League coaches, managers and trainers.