Written by Phil Maggitti
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Topics: Food, Philadelphia

Friday, 28 January 2005

image for Philadelphia Eagles Blitz Unlicensed "Official Party Centers"
"If it says 'Eagles,' we say, 'Pay us,'" declared team president, Joe Banner.

Area food stores that call themselves "The Official Eagles Party Center" better have a license to do so, "or face legal consequences," warned Eagles president, Joe Banner, yesterday.

"Every mom-and-pop sandwich store that throws together a few ham-and-cheese trays is calling itself ‘The Official Eagles Party Center,'" Banner complained. "That violates our corporate right to make as much money as we possibly can. If you're using our name to promote a business, you owe us a percentage."

Food stores that want to be known as official Eagles party centers must submit notarized profit-and-loss statements for the last fiscal year, Banner explained. They must also purchase an official Eagles sign kit. "Those crude, hand-lettered signs have a lousy pull quotient," he said.

According to Tim McDermott, senior director of marketing for the Eagles, official party center licenses are available for three-, five-, and ten-year terms. Rates are based on gross revenues. Businesses that cannot afford a party center license can apply for an Eagles bandwagon permit, which allows them to display "Go Eagles" signs on their premises. Bandwagon permits cost $125 and are renewable quarterly. They must be purchased by any business that displays an Eagles-related sign.

To date, the district attorney's office in Philadelphia has served cease-and-desist orders on nearly two hundred supermarkets, caterers, beer distributors, and massage parlors calling themselves "The Official Eagles Party Center." Meanwhile, agents from the city's licensing and inspection department have conducted raids on smaller businesses, confiscating Eagles signs and posters.

The raids have ruffled a lot of feathers among Eagles fans. One licensing and inspections agent was injured when he was struck in the eye by a fully loaded cheese steak hurled by an irate hoagie shop owner in South Philadelphia. In the city's historic Germantown section, residents set upon two licensing and inspection agents in front of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf when the agents tried to tear down a poster that read "Go Eagles" in sign language.

Banner quickly issued an apology to the agents' families. "Those men are heroes," he declared. "The poster contained an unauthorized copy of the official Eagles logo. Clearly it had to come down."

In related news, the Eagles have filed suit against several Las Vegas odds makers who have made the team seven-point underdogs in the Super Bowl. The Eagles claim their underdog status "could materially affect merchandise sales."

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