Is Gareth Bale ‘selling out?’

Commentary on intellectual property, data privacy, social and digital media developments

The IPO has recently approved footballer Gareth Bale’s application to trademark his ‘Eleven of Hearts’ goal celebration (pictured below). This means that Bale will be able to put the trademark on clothes, shoes, and jewellery, commoditising his image in the same way other football stars have in the past, including David Beckham and Cristiano Renaldo. While this will undoubtedly generate huge profits for Bale (and consequently for Real Madrid, who’ve just bought him from Tottenham Hotspurs for £93m), it’s lost him a lot of respect among his fans and this will be difficult to regain.

bale heartA lot of footballers have identifiable goal celebration gestures, ranging from the fairly normal (hugging teammates, fist pumps) to the downright bizarre (dancing, simulated sex acts).  Peter Crouch performs the ‘Robocrouch’ after scoring, and Cristino Luciarelli famously started humping his jersey in a 2007 match, much to the crowd’s amusement. Francesco Totti, Luis Garcia, and…

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