Muhammad Ali Enterprises sues Fox for $30 million

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Super Bowl ads sell for an average of $5 million for 30 seconds.

Muhammad Ali Enterprises, a unit of NY brand licensing and development firm Authentic Brands Group, filed a complaint Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of IL seeking more than $30 million from Fox Broadcasting Co., citing it was owed money because the 21st Century Fox-owned unit used an unauthorized representation of Ali in a three-minute promotional pre-game video before the start of Super Bowl LI earlier this year. Last year, soccer great Pele filed a similar $30 million lawsuit against the electronics company Samsung.

The lawsuit continues, "Throughout the video, it refers to and depicts Ali, following him through his boxing career and highlighting his controversies and personal achievements, including his principled stance as a conscientious objector and his lighting the torch at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta".

The three-minute video, called "The Greatest", ran before the start of Fox's broadcast of the Super Bowl in February, ostensibly as a tribute to the legendary boxer, who died eight months earlier.


"Fox could have sold the three minutes it used for its promotional video to other advertisers for $30 million", according to the complaint. The video featured footage of Ali throughout his career before shifting to images of legendary National Football League players and a logo for Super Bowl 51.

The suit contends that Fox used Ali's "name, image and likeness as the centerpiece" of a video for its Super Bowl broadcast.

The law firm representing Muhammad Ali Enterprises, Schiff Hardin, has experience bringing lawsuits over the use of superstar athletes.

Fox has not responded to Deadline's request for comment on the case.


"Walk with me as I confront greatness" while the viewer sees the back of a boxer meant to be Ali, wearing a robe that says 'The Greatest.

The ad is a summary of Ali's life and Muhammad Ali Enterprises says Fox didn't receive permission to use his image.

According to Muhammad Ali Enterprises, the ad is a false endorsement, under the Lanham Act and violates the Illinois Right of Publicity Act.


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