Fox Broadcasting Company is being hit with a $30 million lawsuit for using Muhammad Ali in a Super Bowl advertisement.
Muhammad Ali Enterprises, which owns the intellectual property rights associated with the boxing legend, is suing Fox Broadcasting Company for $30 million for using Ali in an advertisement that aired right before this year's Super Bowl, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
In the lawsuit filed in Chicago, Muhammad Ali Enterprises contends that Fox used Ali's "name, image and likeness as the centerpiece of its three-minute promotional video" before its broadcast of the game that attracted a national audience of 111 million viewers.
It alleged that the ad is a false endorsement for Fox under the Lanham Act and a violation of Illinois Right of Publicity Act, as Fox allegedly never requested permission to use Ali's identity.
The ad starts as a tribute to Ali, who died in 2016, calling him "The Greatest," before featuring NFL greats such as Vince Lombardi, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in promoting the greatness of the NFL.
Pivotal moments of Ali's life are highlighted, such as him refusing to be inducted into the U.S. army and lighting the Olympic torch at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
Two years ago, a federal jury awarded basketball legend Michael Jordan $8.9 million in his lawsuit against a now-defunct supermarket chain for using his identity in an advertisement without his permission. The same law firm representing Muhammad Ali Enterprises represented Jordan.
Last year, the same firm filed in Chicago a $30 million lawsuit on behalf of soccer legend Pele, claiming that electronics company Samsung improperly used a Pele look-alike in an advertisement for televisions. The lawsuit said it would hurt the value of his endorsement rights.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.