Can You Sell Items With NFL Or MLB Logos on Etsy? 

By Scott Voelker •  Updated: 04/16/23 •  7 min read

Are you interested in selling NFL and MLB logos on Etsy?

While you may think that selling a logo as part of a product won't infringe upon the copyright, this isn't necessarily true — meaning you could find yourself facing legal action if you're not careful.

In this blog post, we'll explain what you must consider when selling NFL and MLB logos on Etsy. We'll also address some frequently asked questions about selling these types of logos online so that you can stay on the correct side of copyright law.

Can I Sell NFL and MLB Logos on Etsy? 

Unless you have a licensing agreement with either the NFL or MLB, it would be a usually be terms of service violation (not to mention illegal!) to sell products with either logo on Etsy.

The NFL and MLB logos are trademarked and are the intellectual property of the aforementioned companies. 

Suppose you're found to be selling the logos without the explicit consent of the companies. In that case, you will most likely be liable for statutory damages and attorney fees, which will be a considerable sum of money.

When it comes to selling NFL and MLB logos on Etsy, copyright law must be considered.

While you may think that selling a logo as part of a product won't infringe upon the copyright, this isn't necessarily true — meaning you could find yourself facing legal action if you're not careful. 

It's important to understand the difference between trademarked logos and copyright protection when considering selling these types of products.

Trademark laws protect the use of certain symbols and words from being copied or used without permission from their owner (in this case, either the NFL or MLB). This means that using an image or phrase protected by trademark law, even if it's part of a product, is not lawful.

Additionally, the NFL and MLB have brand usage guidelines that must be followed to sell products with their logos. 

These rules typically require getting permission or licensing from the organization before using any artwork that includes their logo. Therefore, if you want to sell products featuring these logos on Etsy, you must first get permission from either the NFL or MLB.

Public Domain VS. Licensed Content

Before you get started, it's important to understand the difference between public domain and licensed content. 

Public domain images are not protected by copyright and can be used openly without the need for permission or payment.

However, logos owned by major league sports teams (and other organizations) are considered “licensed” material, meaning that you must obtain permission from the owner of the logo before using it in a product or design.

When determining if a particular logo is eligible for sale on Etsy, trademark law must also be considered. According to U.S. Trademark Law, “the unauthorized use of a mark in commerce” is considered trademark infringement and can lead to legal action.

Furthermore, Etsy has its own trademark policies that must also be followed and violation of this policy is a great way to get your shop suspended or permanently banned.

Can I Change Certain Aspects of the Logos and Sell Them As Is 

If you have the legal ability to sell licensed products from the NFL or MLB, you must sell the logo as is.

This means that you can't alter colors or fonts in any way — whether this is by adjusting hues or adding special effects. Doing so could constitute copyright infringement and put you at risk of legal action from either the NFL or MLB. 

Additionally, it's important to remember that any artwork featuring a trademarked symbol must also follow brand usage guidelines set forth by either organization — such as specific placement rules for the logo within designs. 

Furthermore, when creating products with these logos, be sure to avoid making false claims about them.

For instance, if you are selling products featuring an NFL logo, do not imply that the NFL has officially endorsed the product or is in any way affiliated with them. Doing so could be considered false advertising and lead to legal repercussions.

On the other hand, if you are making a parody of the logos, this is typically considered ok to sell, as long as you aren't implying that the item is actually endorsed by the league.

Do I need Permission to Sell Items With MLB or NFL Logos on Etsy?

Yes, you do need permission to sell NFL logos. You will have to get in contact with the league's licensing office. From their response, you will be able to either sell or forego the idea of selling their logos online.

How Can I Get Licensing to Sell Items With NFL Or MLB Logos? 

To get licensing by either company, you will have to contact the companies in question and have a lawyer involved. 

For the NFL You will also have to meet the criteria that they have set forth, which can range from a pre-paid royalty guarantee of $100,00 or a commercial insurance policy of $6 million and a liability coverage of $12 million.  

MLB has similar requirements, although the upfront fee is much less expensive (only $40,000).

Note – most of these big-time companies don't offer licenses to smaller businesses or hobbyists. 

How To Obtain Permission To Sell NFL and MLB Logos On Etsy?

If you are interested in selling products featuring NFL or MLB logos on Etsy, there are several steps involved in obtaining permission to do so. 

The first step is contacting the NFL or MLB to inquire about obtaining a license.

Both organizations have their own licensing offices that you'll need to work with to obtain permission.

Once you've been granted permission to use the logo, you will need to create artwork that meets certain criteria for use. This includes making sure that the colors, fonts, size, and design of your artwork all adhere to the usage guidelines set by either organization. 

In some cases, if your product doesn't meet these criteria, it may be rejected by either the NFL or MLB's licensing office, and you won't be allowed to use it on Etsy.

Is Selling Items With NFL or MLB Logos Profitable?

Ultimately, the profitability of selling NFL and MLB logos on Etsy will depend on your product, audience, and marketing efforts.

If you have a unique design or idea that appeals to a specific niche, you may find it a lucrative venture. However, if your product is too generic or doesn't stand out from the competition, then it might be challenging to make significant profits.

Additionally, the successful selling of these types of products requires effective marketing strategies in order to reach potential customers.

What Happens If You Don't Get Licensed?

If you don't want to go through the tedious process of getting licensed and decide to go through with opening your shop, you may find yourself in legal trouble after getting your shop shut down.

Wrapping Up 

Selling NFL and MLB logos on Etsy can be a lucrative way to make money.

However, it's important to remember that both organizations have their own rules and regulations when it comes to using their logos. 

Before selling any products featuring these logos on Etsy or the logos themselves, you must first obtain permission from either the NFL or MLB by following certain steps outlined in this blog post. 

Additionally, you'll need to make sure your artwork meets their brand usage guidelines for it to be approved for use.

By understanding the legal considerations involved with selling these types of logos online, you can successfully make money while staying on the right side of copyright law.

Scott Voelker

Over the years I’ve helped thousands of people TAKE ACTION to UNLOCK their true potential on building their ultimate freedom business, by developing the skills to make them resilient, confident and FUTURE PROOF. I’ve clocked my 10,000 hours over the years working in the trenches myself and helping others build and grow their brands. I know the power in TAKING ACTION better than anyone and I’ve seen people lives changed as a result of it...including my OWN!