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Published: Wednesday, 3/28/2012

Jets' Tebow a deal in uniform on more than 1 playing field

BLADE NEWS SERVICES
Reebok-manufactured jerseys with Tim Tebow's name and number on them are displayed at Modell's sports store in New York City. Reebok-manufactured jerseys with Tim Tebow's name and number on them are displayed at Modell's sports store in New York City.
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NEW YORK -- Tim Tebow may make more of an impact in the business world than he does on the football field.

The New York Jets' new backup quarterback, who was acquired from the Denver Broncos last week, is one of the top five most coveted celebrity endorsements, according to a new marketing index.

The New York Daily News reported the Davie-Brown Index ranks Mr. Tebow fourth on its list of personalities who could most effectively shill for a product.

According to the Daily News, Mr. Tebow ranked behind only Oprah Winfrey, Adele, and Kate Middleton. (And she isn't expected to be hawking any products in the near future.)

Companies are already fighting over the right to make money on Tebow-related apparel.

On Wednesday, Nike went to court to prove that Reebok is no shoo-in to promote Mr. Tebow on apparel.

Nike Inc. claimed in a lawsuit in U.S. District Court that Reebok International Ltd. has used Mr. Tebow's name on Jets-related apparel without permission since the trade was announced last week. The trade occurred just before Nike replaces Reebok on Sunday as the supplier of NFL team uniforms.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims that Reebok misappropriated publicity rights, interfered with business relationships, and unjustly enriched itself because it failed to get Mr. Tebow's OK before launching the new products.

Reebok of Canton, Mass., did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment. The lawsuit said Reebok did not respond to demands to cease Tebow apparel sales after a Tebow representative sent a letter to the company on Friday.

The quarterback beams during a news conference. Toyota could reap more than $2 million just from having its logo behind him. The quarterback beams during a news conference. Toyota could reap more than $2 million just from having its logo behind him.
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According to the lawsuit, new Nike-supplied uniforms for all 32 NFL teams will be unveiled next week in New York City, kicking off a five-year deal for Nike to be the league's exclusive provider of on-field apparel, including game uniforms and sideline apparel. Reebok had been the supplier for a decade.

The lawsuit said demands for Tebow-related Jets apparel were intense last week during a normally subdued time for NFL merchandise.

It said Nike of Beaverton, Ore., believes Reebok was shipping large volumes of Tebow-related apparel products to retailers for sale to the public this week, damaging Nike's ability to capitalize on a "unique and short-lived opportunity."

The suit added it was unlikely a consumer who buys an unauthorized Tebow jersey or T-shirt from Reebok this week will buy an authorized Tebow item from Nike next week.

In related news, Toyota Motor Corp. may reap more than $2 million in media exposure just from having its name and logo on the banner behind Mr. Tebow during his introductory press conference Monday.



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