In today’s modern world, image rights play a huge role in the business of sports. Nowadays, sports constitute more than 3 percent of the entire world trade. Major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup, Olympic Games, Super Bowl, and so on generate a massive sum of income. However, in addition to this, the image rights of players are also worth a lot of money.
💰 Cristiano Ronaldo earned the most amount of money from Instagram last year, earning more from Instagram than his Juventus’ salary. pic.twitter.com/gXkzI32kuo
— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) November 19, 2020
For example, Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the biggest personalities in the soccer world. Ronaldo has over 550 million followers on Instagram. Ronaldo’s massive popularity earns him a huge sum of money from his image rights. As per reports, Ronaldo earned more money from Instagram than from his former club, Juventus, back in 2019.
What are player image rights?
Traditionally, in soccer, the players were paid by the clubs for the sole purpose of playing soccer. However, with the advent of the new era of commercialization, image rights play a significant role. Image rights can be loosely defined as “using the expression “image” not in its narrow sense of “ likeness” but in its wider sense of “persona” or “brand”, to use a marketing term.”
Lionel Messi’s first season at Paris Saint-Germain has generated €700m through image rights, marketing and matchday income. Messi’s arrival brought ten new sponsorship contracts and broke records regarding shirt sales, surpassing a million sold for the first time. pic.twitter.com/QUs9j8V9TM
— Football España (@footballespana_) June 24, 2022
To explain further, image rights are the proprietary rights of a soccer player which prevent other brands and companies from using his/her name or image, or signature in order to sell or advertise their respective products or merchandise. Since brands can leverage huge financial benefits by using soccer stars to promote their merchandise, image rights prevent the brands from doing so unlawfully.
These rights can either be owned by the clubs of the players or the players themselves. Often, soccer clubs split the image deals with their players. For example, Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo originally agreed to a 50-50 deal, which later turned into a 60-40. Moreover, sometimes, third-party companies take control of a player’s image rights. Argentine star Paulo Dybala’s image rights are acquired by a company called ‘Star Image.’
Why did Ronaldo sell his image rights?
Back in 2015, Cristiano Ronaldo entered into a deal with Singaporean business magnate Peter Lim for his image rights except for those generated by his club. Lim, who owns MINT Media, is in charge of all decisions regarding the Portuguese star’s brand deals. Thus, any company looking to use Ronaldo’s name or image must negotiate with Peter Lim’s company.
Cristiano Ronaldo has sold his image rights to Mint Media, owned by Singaporean tycoon and Valencia owner Peter Lim. pic.twitter.com/gL7s6Fv37m
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 29, 2015
After signing the deal with MINT Media, Ronaldo stated, “Peter has a valuable and extensive business network and I have always admired Peter’s entrepreneurial savvy and his ability to grow businesses. He is also a good friend whom I have known for a while. I believe he will be a good partner and add good value for my brand. ” The Al-Nassr star had signed a 6-year deal with MINT Media for an undisclosed amount of money.
Cristiano Ronaldo stars as a ninja in an advert for Zuju GP pic.twitter.com/8aK8jcwngU
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) October 14, 2021
Ronaldo believed that his deal with MINT Media was an extremely “smart” and “strategic” move that would take his brand to the next level in Asia. Back in 2021, Ronaldo and MINT Media came together to promote ZujuGP, which is an online platform to unite soccer, technology, and communication.
Did Cristiano Ronaldo trademark his name?
Cristiano Ronaldo’s popularity has helped him to establish himself as one of the biggest brands in the world. Over the years, Ronaldo has invested in multiple business ventures in various fields. Ronaldo has his own line of hotels known as the Pestana CR7. The former Manchester United star has also his own fragrance company (Cristiano Ronaldo Fragrance) as well as his fashion brand (CR7).
Thus, due to his high-profile brand, Ronaldo holds multiple trademarks. As per reports, “Cristiano Ronaldo,” “CR7,” “Cristiano Ronaldo CR7,” “Cristianoronaldo,” and “Cristiano Ronaldo Legacy,” are all owned by Ronaldo. This has helped him to secure his highly-desired name as well as in promoting his already well-established brand.