Intersport has owned the “March Madness” trademark for twenty years, using it in conjunction with local events and more recently programming for mobile devices. The term is known to all college basketball aficionados as the nickname for the NCAA tournament that leads to the final four and the eventual crowing of a year’s Division One college champion. Last October, the NCAA thought it was time they locked up the trademark, and according to USA Today, they paid $17M for it.
What makes a buyer strategic? What is the risk of not owning the trademark?Consider that CBS and Turner reportedly ponied up $11B for a 14-year contract to televise the tournament, again, commonly known as “March Madness.” Consider that the NCAA has an annual budget of $700M to host the tournament. Paying $17M for exclusive rights to “March Madness” seems like a huge investment, but for a strategic buyer, it may have been a prudent business decision, even if it is just for the unique right to create an App for it.