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FanDuel agrees to pay for image rights, NFL players union says

January 20, 2016

The NFL’s players union said FanDuel Inc. agreed to pay for licensing rights that will allow players to appear in marketing campaigns, becoming the third fantasy sports site to strike such a deal.

DraftKings Inc. in September joined DailyMVP in paying for group licensing rights. They are each cleared to use six or more players for product and promotional campaigns across broadcast, print and social media, among other platforms.

The accord announced Tuesday by the National Football League Players Association follows a confidential settlement of a lawsuit filed against FanDuel in October by  former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who accused the site of using his name and image without his permission.

FanDuel and DraftKings, the top two fantasy sports sites, are under increasing scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers across the U.S. amid a debate over whether their contests are illegal gambling or not. The two companies are currently fighting an attempt by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to shut them down permanently.

Garcon, now with the Washington Redskins, sued the New York-based company in federal court in Maryland, saying the site is exploiting players in order to build its business. Garcon had been seeking to represent each NFL athlete whose name or likeness had been used by FanDuel since 2013.

Brian Murphy, an attorney for Garcon, said the player and FanDuel resolved the suit on confidential terms. FanDuel spokeswoman Emily Bass declined to comment on the filing.

The wide receiver, who was drafted by the Colts out of Mount Union College in Ohio, just finished his eighth season in the NFL. He has 485 receptions for 6,027 yards and 34 touchdowns and led the league in receptions in 2013.

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