Muhammad Ali Sells Marketing Rights
Muhammad Ali has sold the rights to market his name, for a cool $50 mil.
Muhammad Ali, one of the world’s most recognized people, has sold 80 percent of the marketing rights to his name and likeness to a firm for $50 million. The 64-year-old former heavyweight champion, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, will retain a 20 percent interest in the business. The new venture will be operated by a company called G.O.A.T. LLC, an acronym for “The Greatest of All Time.”
Ali and wife Lonnie are expected to work with CKX, Inc. to market his interests around the world. The deal includes trademarks owned by the boxing great. “This relationship with CKX will help guarantee that, for generations to come, people of all nations will understand my beliefs and my purpose,” Ali said in a statement issued Tuesday by the company. “I am honored to be able to partner with CKX as they continue to grow.”
CKX has concentrated primarily on entertainment and holds the rights to the IDOLS television brand, which includes the show “American Idol.” It also holds the rights to Elvis Presley’s marketing, and has an interest in the operations of Graceland, Presley’s Memphis, Tenn., home.
Elvis and Muhammad Ali are a pretty good combo, I guess. Still, this somehow seems wrong.
And how does one sell eighty percent of one’s name, anyway? Eighty percent of the profits, sure. But either Ali has a veto power over how his name is sold, in which case he effectively owns at least 51 percent of it, or not, in which case he effectively owns none of it.
As an aside, I originally posted this at Gone Hollywood and then thought to cross-post it here. That this was a sports story was my last reaction. It says something about Ali’s transcendent nature, I guess.
Update: I hope they don’t change his name to “Enron Field.” That would really suck. Although, if they changed it back to “Cassius Clay,” it’d be kind of funny.