MLB PLAYERS, INC.
MLB Players, Inc. is the for-profit corporate subsidiary of the Players Association. It is charged with managing all commercial activities of the organization. At the core of MLBPI’s business today, it brings to market products and services featuring the publicity rights (name/image/likeness) of our Players. We grant these rights to our 100+ partners all over the world when more than two Players are featured. MLBPI negotiates agreements with companies to ensure Player-licensed products are part of the suite of baseball-related items fans want - when and where they want them.
Our scope of business extends to licensing, corporate sponsorship, media, promotions, sweepstakes, contests, and events. For all the categories of products we cover, we engage with our partners directly to feature and promote Players in efforts in the best interest of the game and boost sales. As part of these efforts, we take significant steps to protect the positive image and reputation of each Player, using our resources to ensure we approve only those products or services that use Players in products of high quality, and are reflective of a positive Player “brand.” Finally, our duties include the protection of Player rights, including in commercial legal claims. This includes, in some instances, commencing lawsuits, or defending lawsuits when companies seek to limit Player opportunity.
For several decades, MLBPA has conducted a worldwide group licensing program on behalf of all Major League baseball players.
MLBPA holds the exclusive, worldwide right to use, license and sublicense the names, numbers, nicknames, likenesses, signatures, playing records and biographical data (known as “publicity rights”) of all active MLB players (collectively, the “Rights”) for use in or in connection with any brand, product, service or product line in various circumstances, including when more than 2 players are involved in such brand, product line or other venture. Recently, MLBPA appointed MLB Players, Inc. to represent MLBPA in connection with its licensing business, and granted MLBPI the authority to (among other things) negotiate, administer and/or manage the licensing, merchandising, sponsorship, promotional and general business activities involving the Rights and the MLBPA trademarks.
MLBPA’s rights include instances, e.g., where the publicity rights of 3 or more active MLB players are featured on a single product (for example, a single poster featuring three or more players) or where 3 or more players are featured on individual products within a product line or brand (for example, three separate posters, each of which featuring the publicity rights of only one player, offered by a company in a given year). MLBPA’s rights also include promotional uses in which 3 or more players are used by third party to promote a brand, product line or services, including in connection with corporate sponsorship, advertising, promotional materials, sweepstakes, contests, premiums, events or other programs.
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. 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), the Players House, in addition to MLBPlayers.com, the Players Choice on the Web.