NCAA Moves to Trademark ‘Battle in the Bubble’

    • A filing made Aug. 26 suggests the term would be used on apparel and in entertainment services.
    • The trademark could signal the NCAA’s plans for the 2020-21 basketball season.

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The NCAA has filed a trademark for the phrase “Battle in the Bubble,” signaling what the association’s plans for the 2020-21 Division I basketball season might entail. 

The filing, as first noted by trademark attorney Josh Gerben, was made with the USPTO on Aug. 26 and indicates that the NCAA intends to use the phrase in association with collegiate sports, but doesn’t limit what sports it might apply to. 

In the filing, the NCAA says it plans to use the phrase on clothing and athletic uniforms. It also mentions “entertainment services in the nature of athletic contests, games, tournaments, exhibitions and other athletic events at the college level and “providing an interactive website featuring information relation to entertainment and athletic sporting contests, games, exhibitions and events.”

Other NCAA-owned trademarks include “68 Teams, One Dream,” “And Then There Were Four,” “Elite Eight,” “Final Four,” “History Happens Here,” “March Madness,” “NCAA Sweet 16,” “Road To The Final Four,” “The Road Starts Here” and “The Road Ends Here.”

WNBA is similarly trying to trademark the term “Wubble,” in reference to their season currently going on at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. 

On Aug. 13, ESPN reported that an event operator in Houston turned in a formal proposal to the NCAA for a college basketball event called the “Battle in the Bubble” involving 20 teams that would allow programs to play an entire non-conference schedule in three weeks in December.

Under that plan, schools would pay for entrance into the bubble with money already set aside for buy games. 

The NCAA announced Aug. 17 that it expects a decision on the basketball season start-date by mid-September. As scheduled, the season would begin Nov. 10. 

NCAA President Mark Emmert has said that potentially using the bubble is “perfectly viable in many sports.” 

“Starting with 64 teams is tough. Thirty-two, OK, maybe that’s a manageable number. Sixteen, certainly manageable. But you’ve got to figure out those logistics. There’s doubtlessly ways to make that work,” he said.

It’s near-certain that the NCAA will find a way to host a postseason Division I basketball tournament, one way or another. Broadcast and marketing rights to the men’s event are worth $875 million, and it brings in $177.9 million in ticket sales alone.