NFL Says Players Can’t Wear Beats by Dre Headphones
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
Bose has signed a long-term deal with the NFL in March that allows the company to put its logo on headsets worn by coaches. The NFL also confirmed to recode.net that the popular ‘Beats by Dre’ headphones, which are worn by many athletes around the world, have now been banned because of the league’s partnership with Bose. The deal allows Bose to ask the NFL to keep players and coaches from wearing anyone else’s headphones.
“The NFL has longstanding policies that prohibit branded exposure on-field or during interviews unless authorized by the league. These policies date back to the early 1990s and continue today,” an NFL spokesperson said in a statement. “They are the NFL’s policies — not one of the league’s sponsors, Bose in this case. Bose is not involved in the enforcement of our policies. This is true for others on-field.”
Players will not be allowed to wear Beats headphones before games or at any other time where cameras might be around at an NFL event. There is an actual game day ban that runs until an hour and half after the game is finished. Included in the Beats ban is any training camp or offseason workout session where a player might be interviewed on-camera.
Seattle Seahawks corner Richard Sherman and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick are two NFL players who endorse Beats by Dre and something as simple as wearing their preferred Beats by Dre headphones while getting off a plane will now be banned.
This is very similar to what Sony did during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, banning the wildly popular Beats in favor for Sony headphones, which did cause a minor controversy. Prominent players like Mario Balotelli and Neymar defied the ban and visibly wore their Beats headphones.
Beats by Dre dominate the premium headphone market with 61% of the market share, with Bose garnering 22%. This has been easy for Beats to obtain because of several high-profile athletes backing the product and now it has tech juggernaut Apple as its owner.
One reason for the ban is that in July 2014, the Bose Corporation sued Beats Electronics for patent infringement, alleging that its “Studio” line incorporated noise cancellation technology that violated five patents held by Bose. Bose has also sought an injunction which would ban the infringing products from being imported or sold in the U.S.
The ban goes into effect immediately and appears to be both business and personal.
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