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Can I award event tickets as prizes?

Special event tickets (NCAA football, NFL Super Bowl, Concerts…) are a very popular prize, but they can carry some risk depending whether or not your brand has permission or is a paid sponsor.

In most cases, professional sports leagues or concert promoters have agreements with paid official sponsors for rights of use. These rights aren’t afforded to non-sponsors, so if you’re giving away tickets to a popular event without a sponsorship agreement, there’s a chance you’ll get a cease and desist letter from the entity or even find yourself in a costly court battle.

The bottom line is, your brand should get permission or make an agreement for rights of use with the event you want to advertise as a prize for your promotion.

These entities have agreements in place with official sponsors that have paid them for certain rights of use. These same rights aren’t afforded to non-sponsors so if you’re giving away tickets.

There’s also the question of whether or not the entity in question wants to associate with your brand. For example, a theme park may take a dim view of a tobacco company awarding a trip to their property and drawing a false or misleading association with them.

Finally, if you were to scrutinize the reverse side of a ticket, you will likely find a list of restrictions. Among them, you may find something along these lines “This ticket may not be used for, nor may any ticket holder enter the stadium for, advertising, promotion, or any other commercial purposes (including contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways) without the express written consent.”

If you get clever with how you describe the event (i.e. “Pro football’s big game”), that doesn’t necessarily eliminate the risk.

In summary, we often recommend obtaining permission or offer an alternate prize.

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