ESPN Beats Pro Wrestler Over Match Rebroadcast Dispute, How This Could Have a Big Impact on WWE Going Forward

espnAccording to The Hollywood Reporter, former Universal Wrestling Federation star Steve “Wild Thing” Ray lost a court battle against ESPN, as Ray alleged ESPN violated his publicity and privacy rights under Missouri law when they rebroadcasted old match footage from the 1990’s.

The three judge panel noted “ESPN did not use Ray’s likeness or name in an advertisement without his permission to promote its commercial products, and, as the district court correctly noted, Ray’s ‘likenesses could not be detached from the copyrighted performances that were contained in the films.'”

This verdict comes just days after WWE and ESPN were sued by the father of deceased wrestler Eddie Gilbert for publicity rights for using old footage on television and the Internet.

It remains to be seen whether or not the above precedent can be used as it pertains to the WWE court case, but it very well could, as the article notes the decision could play a big part in lawsuits over the likenesses of college athletes.