The push to trademark “Boston” for the Red Sox is no more, principal owner John Henry announced.
Henry, in a statement sent to the Herald, brushed back at the league’s patent play.
He stated: “On March 17, Major League Baseball initiated, oversaw, and directed a trademark application on behalf of three of its clubs, including the Boston Red Sox. Major League Baseball — not the Boston Red Sox — initiated this filing. Today, at our request, MLB has agreed to withdraw the application. MLB’s intent was to protect these clubs’ use of their city name in connection with professional baseball services and apparel, not an attempt to own the city name or prevent others from using the city name.”
It has been a perplexing situation from the start.
Various experts on trademarking and patent law told the Herald that this was a fruitless, “absurd” move with a “very low chance” of success.
The application drew criticism from fans on social media, who saw the request to trademark the city’s name as an attempt to increase the organization’s already-massive wealth. That Forbes released their annual MLB valuations on Thursday only worsened the optics.
The Red Sox continue to rank third on Forbes’ list of most valuable teams, behind the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. The average team value is now $2.32 billion, a 12% increase over last year; the Sox are now valued at $4.5 billion, a 15% gain. They stand to take in $513 million in revenue (without debt deduction) this year, $34 million more than in 2022.
Many baseball fans don’t care about the intricacies of what it costs to run their favorite team. They see that the team is more valuable than last year and still trying to make more money by trying to trademark the name of their city.
Sources told the Herald what Henry’s statement reiterated: that the Red Sox were not behind the applications, nor were they informed that the league had filed something on their behalf.
The league did not respond to a request for comment.
Last, but certainly not least, who thought it was a good idea to try and trademark the name of a city? Boston is home to several other sports teams, not to mention schools and businesses, which also bear its name. Even if this was well-intentioned, the perception is an attempt at monopolizing and money-grabbing.
Similar applications were filed for the Astros and Mariners. Why only Houston, Seattle, and Boston?
The Red Sox say they weren’t aware of MLB’s actions. The league owns and controls all team names, logos, colors, and other such branding.
The Red Sox open the regular season Thursday at Fenway against the Baltimore Orioles.
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