In May 2020, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s legal team filed to trademark the basketball superstar’s “Greek Freak” nickname for “online gambling use”. This was a part of a larger filing that included protecting the phrase for general online gaming use as well.
That the NBA’s leading MVP candidate is showing potential interest in attaching his name to online gambling services is yet another sign of how fast the legal sports betting landscape is evolving and how the public is starting to see sports betting as an acceptable pastime.
Let’s go through in detail what this news means.
Giannis is preparing for future opportunities
The NBA has an ongoing partnership with MGM, and teams are allowed to strike partnerships with bookmakers if the team plays in a state where sports betting is legal. But players are currently not allowed to be associated with any types of gambling operators, or to be involved in any way in sports betting activities.
We touched the topic when we wrote about insider trading laws in sports investing:
”The biggest fear with legalized sports gambling that the leagues face is related to this: What if referees, team employees, or even players will try to manipulate parts of the game to gain profits with bets? The Tim Donaghy case is a fairly recent example of this actually happening in the NBA. Donaghy, an NBA referee, was bribed by underground bet broker James Battista to manipulate the spread of the games he officiated in. And this happened during a time when legal gambling options were very limited in the US. Scandals like this impact the integrity and the reputation of the game, and of course the sports betting market.”
Understandably then, Antetokounmpo’s lawyer has said that they have no immediate intention to try to use the trademark to their advantage in the field of online gambling. Instead, they saw this as a long-term play and wanted to get ahead of things – probably expecting that players will be allowed to strike such partnerships in the future.
We expect to see more filings like this for star players in the near future.
Big bucks for the Bucks star in endorsements
Giannis is having a monster season and looks to lock down a second MVP trophy in a row as the NBA season returns at the end of July. When we covered Antetokounmpo’s investment case for sports traders before the season was suspended, this is what we wrote:
”The Greek Freak himself is averaging 29.7 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists this season while playing less than 31 minutes per game. With a PER of 32.12, no player in the history of the league has ever been as efficient as him. Giannis will surely win the MVP vote again this season unless something drastic happens.”
Being the superstar that he is, Antetokounmpo is also killing it outside the hardwood floor in terms of partnerships and endorsements. In the beginning of the current season, he was reportedly making $20 million per year from endorsement deals, tying him at fourth spot on that front in the league with Kyrie Irving.
Protecting one’s trademarks is an important aspect in making sure those endorsement dollars are flowing to the right pockets. Antetokounmpo has already trademarked the use of “Greek Freak” for clothing. Among extending the trademark to online gambling and gaming use, he also has a pending trademark for “Greek Fr34K”, which would cover basic food and beverage items, and men’s care products (according to US trademark law, the intent of use for trademarks has to be declared).
Antetokounmpo’s legal team has been busy recently, filing 13 lawsuits to protect that “Greek Freak” brand for clothing items with the intention of catching anyone who tries to illegally make money with the brand. Among those 13 lawsuits, Giannis is seeking to get at least $2 million in damages from Fan Closet, a website that had been illegally selling “Greek Freak” merchandise, after they failed to comply with a cease and desist letter.
Can the Greek Freak win it all this year?
Heading into the last third of the season before the COVID-19 pandemic, bookmakers had started to have faith in Giannis’ Milwaukee Bucks team to win the NBA championship this year.
We are eagerly waiting for the restart of the season so that we can see if the Greek Freak indeed brings home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. And we are looking to make some serious cash with smart investments while doing so.
To prepare for the return of sports, and to learn everything you need to know about smart investing in the sports betting market, check out our head trader John Todora’s new book – “Zero Correlation Investing – The Score Metrics Secret”. It’s currently on sale for a limited time, so go get yours now!
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