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3 Legal Considerations for Small Businesses During the Super Bowl

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on January 27, 2016 9:58 AM

It's the time of year again -- two weeks of hype, anticipation, and chatter about the upcoming Super Bowl, and this isn't just some idle water cooler chat in the office. The big game can have a huge impact on your business, for better and for worse.

So how can your small business take advantage of the Super Bowl without getting into legal trouble? By following these 3 tips:

1. Get Your Ad Game Right

We all know about the famous halftime ads during the Super Bowl, but if you don't have millions in your advertising budget, can you still ride the game's coat tails to new customers? The answer is yes, but you better be careful. The NFL has trademarked the phrase "Super Bowl," so there are strict rules on using the phrase in your advertisements.

The league used to crack down on Super Bowl-themed parties, but as long as you're not charging admission, you're probably OK. But you may not use the exact phrase "Super Bowl" in any television, print, radio, or online advertisements or contests (unless you have permission, of course). You might be able to use the phrase in non-ad tweets and Facebook posts, but be careful.

2. Get Your Bets in Order

It's a sporting event, so your employees are probably going to want to gamble on it. Office pools and betting squares are especially popular, and while you're probably not running Caesar's Palace at your office, you'll want to make sure your office gambling doesn't get out of hand:

  • Keep the buy-ins and dollar amounts low;
  • Limit the pool to employees; and
  • Make sure no one is skimming money off the top or taking a fee for organizing the pool.

3. Get Your Employees on the Same Page

Estimates indicate businesses could lose $200 million in worker productivity the Monday after the Super Bowl, so until that day becomes a national holiday you'll probably need to expect some absenteeism or at least a dip in production. If you can, it might be better to give employees a half-day or allow them to report in later than usual. Regardless, have a plan for how your team will tackle the Monday after, and make sure your employees on board -- that will be better than unexpected calls for sick days.

If you've got more questions about how the Super Bowl will affect your small business, you might want to consult with an experienced business or commercial attorney near you.

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