Many aspects of daily life have changed during COVID-19. For example, many of us work from home now as opposed to working in an office setting to reduce the transmissibility of the virus. Five years ago, who would have thought that Zoom would see the resurgence of the past few months? For me personally, as an avid sports fan, I’ve endured the past 100+ days without a Tampa Bay Lightning game. Moreover, with the news that 3 Lightning players tested positive for the virus this week, the NHL season may not take place. While sports are certainly nowhere near the biggest loss faced during the pandemic, watching a live competition on TV would be a welcome distraction right about now. Up steps our new favorite sport – marble racing – fresh off a trademark infringement allegation from the Olympics.
From Marblelympics to Marble League
Jelle’s Marble Runs started streaming marble racing competitions on YouTube in 2013. Jelle’s gained some notoriety in the United States as ESPN showed syndicated races every now and then. Curiously, ESPN typically blurred the name of Jelle’s annual racing competition – the Marblelympics – created to draw a comparison to the International Olympics Committee’s historic competition. As it turns out, with increased attention, the IOC took note of the Marblelympics. In 2019, the IOC sent a letter requesting the marble event change its name due to trademark infringement of the OLYMPICS mark.
2020 is a major year for Jelle’s. HBO’s massively popular show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, sponsored the 2020 annual marble event. An exponentially increasing fanbase subscribed to the Jelle’s YouTube page, hungry for a sports competition during the COVID-19 pandemic. To avoid further complications from the Olympics, Jelle’s rebranded the event’s name from Marblelympics to Marble League.
Performing a trademark search earlier in the marble competition’s history would have prevented the name change issue. However, everything worked out for Jelle’s in the end, and the 2020 Marble League rolled ahead on June 21. Hopefully we get some more live in-person sporting events soon, but for now, you can watch marble racing on the Jelle’s Marble Runs YouTube page.