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Sports Equipment Technology

NFL Restricts Use of Beats Headphones by Coaches and Players

October 06, 2014


Beats by Dre headphones might be popular in the NFL, but a new set of rules issued by the league will attempt to keep that little secret under wraps. The league recently signed a sponsorship deal with Bose, and under the terms of the agreement no player or coach can be wearing a pair of Beats headphones on camera. The ban extends to more than simply time during the game; players and coaches may not be spotted with the rival headphones before a game, or up to 90 minutes after the contest is over.

When it comes right down to it, such a restriction is not all that unusual when talking about specific brands and their sponsorship. What is a bit different is the veracity with which the league is making sure players are following the beat of the sponsorship drum in this case. Part of the problem for Bose is there are a number of different ads where NFL players are pitching Beats products.

Beats isn’t just popular among the professional athlete. A recent report indicated the company, recently purchased by Apple for more than $3 billion has a 61 percent control of the premium headphone market. This means among headphones that cost more than $100, Beats is beating Bose and other companies quite handily.

The revelation that Beats has gotten these kinds of restrictions put in place has outraged some, and led to the NFL releasing a statement about the deal. “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.”

The restrictions on Beats are not actually all that different than the deal FIFA and Sony have in place. The soccer entity recently informed all 32 FIFA countries that Beats products were banned during media contact and match days. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle