The collective bargaining agreement is a contract that is found across all major league sports. The negotiation takes place between the organization and the player’s union to define a strategic way to respond and communicate the rules and regulations players and organizations must agree on. That being said, not all collective bargain agreements are created equally amongst sports, and each league has different provisions on the same issues. The regulations for endorsements within the National Football League, Major League Soccer and National Basketball Association vary.
In football, the rules for endorsements are simple. Players are allowed to be in any endorsement agreement with any company, and the organization can not interfere. However, the company can not be associated with the production, manufacture, or distribution of a substance that has been banned by the "Policy on Anabolics Steroids and Related Sub-stances." Each year the NFL and NFLPA create and distribute the list of companies that players can not be contracted under. In the eyes of the NFL, endorsements do not seem like a priority for them for they list endorsement policies under their miscellaneous articles. To me, this highlights the leniency the league has towards sponsorship and also the opportunity it gives for players to earn money since they are not considered the highest-paid athletes. In recent years there has been a debate about whether NFL players should be allowed to do jersey patch endorsements like other leagues such as the NBA and MLS. That is also why the NFL’s CBA mentions explicitly that the placement of sponsorship’s logo on a jersey does not constitute as a form of endorsement. They are allowed to wear them on practice jerseys but on game day, will not be found.
The NBA, on the other hand, also has regulations on the type of companies their players are allowed to sponsor. They are prohibited from being in contract with endorsements that promote politics, tobacco, alcohol, and gambling. Endorsements are found to be very popular in the NBA for within their contract Media Rights is its own section. It protects players from being used as third party advertising for the NBA teams’ games or event. Their CBA provisions also allowed for the 2017 implementation of the jersey patch program. Today, NBA teams are eligible to negotiate individual deals with sponsors. This results in NBA players being the most common athletes to be used as endorsers.
Within the MLS, advertisements, and endorsements are what creates their uniform. MLS provision mainly focuses on promotional appearance. The team or the league can request a reasonable number of the promotional debut. They are required to give at least a week notice before any event. These may include youth and charitable activities and may not contain commercial sponsorships or testimonies for products and services. Overall, the agreement ensures that these events scheduled relatively and must be equal amongst all players.