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News > July 2007

24-Jul-2007

Many US Sports Teams Don't Own Their Team Domains

A trademarked brand domain name is often owned by the trademark holder, mainly because if they were ever owned by someone else, they've been bought out or sued for the name by the wealthy corporations with rightful ownership. But many US professional sports teams suffer the indignity of having had their name snatched by cybersquatters, domain speculators or online businesses.

The problem is that the names of sports teams are often generic terms rather than universally recognised brand names: the Miami Dolphins, Orlando Magic, the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and so on. It's hardly surprising that someone else fancied jazz.com or magic.com, and of course, there's no way that the respective teams can sue for these generic terms, to which no one has a legal right – it's strictly first-come, first-served.

Most of the teams resort to names like OrlandoMagic.com and DallasMavericks.com. This works fine for most, but TitansOnline.com is an example of a truly dreadful domain decision, and some domain names can be ambiguous. Looking for the website of the St Louis Rams, what would you try first: stlouisrams.com, stlrams.com, slrams.com, st-louis-rams.com…?

wiseGEEK, an articles and answers site, conducted a survey this month on the ownership of Domains related to sports teams. They found that just 27% of teams in the US National Hockey League used their teams' official name as a Domain Name. Nearly half of these domains were just parked with advertisements. The football, baseball and basketball teams did rather better, at 50%, 77% and 80% ownership of official names respectively.