Darren Rovell | ESPN.com
Marshawn Lynch isn’t letting someone else cash in on his “Beast Mode” moniker.
The Seattle Seahawks running back made in the mid-six figures from licensing out the phrase in 2013, according to his agent Doug Hendrickson. Lynch has two registered trademarks to use the term on clothing and hats and currently has two trademarks pending to be able to use “Beast Mode” on sunglasses, headphones, bracelets and cleats.
“He has spent a lot of money to make sure that he owns and protects this,” Hendrickson said.
For those companies who Lynch chooses to work with — he rejects about five proposals a month — there’s a typical 20 percent sales royalty fee. Lynch himself has to approve every design.
The University of South Carolina athletic department, supplement company MusclePharm and Deuce Watches all give him a cut of their “Beast Mode” business. So too did Aaron Rodgers‘ brother Luke whose company Pro Merch made 2,500 “Beast Mode” shirts to sell at a Target in Seattle. They sold out in three days, Hendrickson said. This week, Lynch gave Joe Montana‘s wife Jennifer the rights to sell “Beast Mode” necklaces on her website in exchange for a piece of each $124 sale.
For those companies who use the phrase without his permission, there are cease and desist letters. Even companies that sign Lynch to a business deal don’t automatically get rights to “Beast Mode.”
Thus far, Lynch has given a stiff arm to Nike, who pay him endorse their products. Hendrickson said things could change on the Nike front if the Seahawks advance to the Super Bowl and his client is presented with the right side deal. He has an exclusive autograph deal with Washington-based Mill Creek Sports. But Hendrickson said the two haven’t come to terms on a deal that allow the company to have Lynch sign “Beast Mode” along with his autograph.
Limiting the “Beast Mode” use has made it more valuable, which includes stopping other athletes from being able to use it. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp started using “Beast Mode” more frequently of late, but when the Dodgers came to Lynch to be able to use the phrase in association with Kemp, Lynch turned it down despite the promise of a $100,000 royalty, Hendrickson said.
All the money generated by “Beast Mode” goes to Lynch’s FAM 1st Family Foundation.
- ESPN.com’s sports business reporter since 2012; previously at ESPN from 2000-06
- Appears on SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and with ABC News
- Formerly worked as analyst at CNBC