Texas A&M officials announced Thursday that the school has reached a new licensing agreement with the Seattle Seahawks mandating new stipulations in the NFL team’s use of the university’s 12th Man trademark.
Specifically, the Seahawks no longer will use the phrase “12th Man” on the Ring of Honor in their home stadium and there will be no more references to “12th Man” in social media by the Seahawks franchise.
A&M officials involved in the negotiations said the Seahawks will continue to pay an undisclosed annual royalty fee under the new agreement, which lasts five years and replaces a previous deal negotiated in 2006. The Seahawks did not desire to expand the previous agreement, A&M officials said, so the covered territory for use remains in the Pacific Northwest.
Seahawks officials also indicated they have shifted their branding to “12” or “12s” with the new agreement in place primarily for “incidental use” as it relates to the team’s fan base. The initial licensing agreement, signed in 2006, was finalized after university officials were made aware of the team’s unauthorized use of the trademark.
A&M secured the federal trademark for the phrase “12th Man” in 1990.
In a statement, A&M university president Michael Young said: “We appreciate the Seahawks’ management working with us on a mutual agreement for the licensed use of the mark. The 12th Man is a cherished tradition. Keeping it alive is important because it reflects the willingness and readiness of Aggies to fearlessly step in wherever and whenever needed.”
The “12th Man” use by A&M dates back almost a century and relates to the actions of the late E. King Gill, a Texas A&M student who came out of the stands at an Aggies’ football game on Jan. 2, 1922 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and stood ready to enter the game if needed because of injuries to the players on the field. Gill was the Aggies’ original 12th Man.