In October 2007, memorabilia company Dreams Inc. signed Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher to a four-year contract. But two years into the deal, there is already friction.
After Urlacher hurt his wrist in Game 1 against the Packers, Dreams sent a letter of termination based on a provision in the contract which stated that the contract could be terminated if “Urlacher is out for sixteen or more consecutive weeks.”
I’ve been covering the memorabilia industry for a long time, but I’ve actually never seen a high-profile player’s contract. This lawsuit gives us a peek into what they look like and it’s extremely fascinating.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Deal is a four-year deal from Sept. 1, 2007 through August 31, 2011.
- Urlacher gives Dreams a license to use his name and likeness during the term of the agreement.
- Dreams shall pay Urlacher a total of $275,000 a year. Urlacher must sign a minimum of $225,000 in merchandise for Dreams for each annual period of the agreement. If the signings in any annual period are greater than $275,000 by as much as $75,000, Dreams may reduce the signings in any subsequent annual period.
- The pricing structure for merchandise to be autographed by Urlacher for Dreams shall be as follows: $75 per signature on any item. An additional $15 per inscription will be paid on any item. Urlacher will sign 500 8-by-10 autographs at $50 per year, for a total of 2,000 photographs for the term of the agreement.
- If the Chicago Bears win the Super Bowl with Urlacher on the roster at least through the NFL Championship game, Urlacher’s price per signature increases to $100 per autograph for the subsequent 2,200 signatures. At that time, the price per signature reverses back to $75 per autograph. The price per inscription increases to $25, which shall revert back to $20 per inscription.
- Urlacher shall provide one additional appearance to Dreams within 150 days after the Super Bowl. If the Bears win the Super Bowl, Urlacher’s total payment over the term of the agreement shall increase by $250,000. If the Super Bowl victory is within the final annual period of the agreement, the agreement shall be extended by an additional three months.
- If Urlacher is the NFL Super Bowl MVP, Urlacher’s price per signature will be $100 for 3,200 autographs. At that time, the price per signature reverts to $80 per autograph. The price per inscription shall increase to $30 for “Super Bowl MVP” and $25 for all other inscriptions.
- Should Urlacher suffer an injury that keeps him out of the regular season or the playoffs for five or more consecutive weeks, the agreement shall be extended for that number of additional months for every week missed.
- If Urlacher is out for 16 or more consecutive weeks at any point through the full term of the four-year agreement or suffers a career ending injury, the agreement can be terminated for cause.
- If Urlacher is traded from or released by the Chicago Bears, then Dreams shall have an option to terminate this agreement, provided that Dreams gives written notice to Urlacher within seven days of the trade or release from the Chicago Bears.
- If Urlacher signs with any party other than Dreams then Urlacher agrees to make himself available to Dreams with 30 days for an appearance and signing of an identified number of additional items produced by Dreams at no additional charge or cost. The number of these additional items to be signed by Urlacher shall be the number of items improperly signed by Urlacher for another party.
- Termination with cause includes refusal of Urlacher to perform contracted duties, use of illegal drugs, any involvement in illegal gambling or other act which would constitute a violation of the morals provisions of the NFL Player contract, filing for bankruptcy, a criminal conviction, failure to file any required federal or state income tax return or Urlacher’s death or disability.
- All autographs shall be of a high quality and consistency as represented by the signature template at the end of this agreement.
- Urlacher shall attend, appear and participate exclusive for Dreams at two public appearances each year of the agreement.
- Dreams shall pay for Urlacher’s travel expenses which means first class ground transportation to all services further than 35 miles from his home. Dreams shall provide first class round trip airfare and first class hotels for two persons on any appearance that requires Urlacher to travel more than 100 miles from his home.
- Urlacher will not violate the agreement by signing autographs for no charge to individuals where there is no intent or likelihood that the autograph will be sold or resold for a fee.
- Should Urlacher participate in any corporate sponsored events, he will only be allowed to sign up to 200 non-memorabilia items will shall carry the logo of the sponsor of the event. If the corporate sponsor wishes to purchase any other autographed memorabilia, those items shall be purchased through Dreams.
- Urlacher is also permitted to sign no more than 250 items per year as requested by the Chicago Bears.