Gareth Bale’s goal celebration is about to get him paid

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You know that cute little heart sign Gareth Bale makes every time he scores a goal?

It’s about to get him paid.

Bale has filed an application with the UK Intellectual Property Office to trademark a logo that depicts a set of hands making a heart gesture with the number 11 inside of it. If the Welshman successfully trademarks the logo he could stand to make upwards of £3 million a year.

By applying for the trademark Bale aims to join the elite ranks of other high-profile athletes who have entered the merchandise world with lucrative brand licensing deals. Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and David Beckham have all trademarked their own logos, which are stylistically quite different from Bale’s design. Woods and Federer each utilize logos monograms of their initials while Beckham’s logo is a stylised representation of himself during the run of play.

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Bale’s decision to seek trademark of a logo that is not a distinctive monogram or stylized logo could prompt the IPO office to request that he re-work the image to achieve registration. Regardless, Bale’s registration of the logo feels like an inevitability and when it finally does pass muster at the IPO office, the Spurs winger will be in line for a hefty payoff.

“The possibilities are huge for Gareth Bale,” said Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing agency brandRapport. “Once he has that right he can cash in on it and become a more well-known player. A third of his overall income could be made from his image rights, potentially up to £3 million [$4.7m] a year.”

The goal celebration gesture, known as the ‘Eleven of Hearts,’ was first flashed by Bale in 2010 as a dedication to childhood sweetheart Emma Rhys-Jones. Now Bale is looking to make big business out of the profession of his love putting the logo on headgear, footwear, jewelry, clothing, travelling bags and umbrellas.

The money-making theory behind the trademark is relatively simple. Millions of people across the globe already readily identify the hand gesture with Bale. By incorporating the logo on different products and continuing to flash the sign every time he scores, the logo becomes more and more recognizable as a brand, making people more likely to consume to consume his products.

But who will purchase these products with the ‘Eleven of Hearts’ brand?

Bale lovers? Probably.

Spurs fans? Possibly.

Random football fans? Ehh, probably not.

So while Tottenham is a club with global recognition, there’s little denying that Bale’s current market reach is somewhat limited. And while all of us would be more than happy with the ‘limited market’ of £3 million ($4.7m) a year, it’s hard not to wonder how big his earning potential could be at a global powerhouse like Real Madrid.

Barcelona’s Twitter hacked to claim Di Maria signing

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FC Barcelona had eyeballs popping across the Twitterverse for a solid 90 seconds there.

La Liga’s giants Tweeted out a welcome to Angel Di Maria, the current PSG and former Real Madrid star, with the hashtag #DiMariaFCB.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

It was an odd Tweet for 4 a.m. local time, as humourously pointed out by our Andy Edwards, and the hackers were quick to claim credit before any Tweets could be deleted.

So if someone tells you Angel Di Maria is the latest member of Barcelona, be sure to stop the spread of fake news.

On a day where Barca’s reportedly ready to up their bid for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, something tells us someone at the Camp Nou is turning over their keys to the club’s social media.

Rescheduled Yankees game moves NYCFC-Houston to Connecticut

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A rescheduled New York Yankees game is moving New York City FC to Connecticut.

Relax, it’s only for a day.

NYCFC will entertain the Houston Dynamo at Rentschler Field at 3 p.m. on Sept. 23 instead of their regular home of Yankee Stadium.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

The club will offer tickets to another match to current ticket holders, and will also discount tickets to the game in East Hartford for fans who hold tickets to the Yankee Stadium game and want to travel for the Dynamo match (More info here, if you are in either of those camps).

This is the third of three scheduled seasons NYCFC will play at Yankee Stadium, and it doesn’t look like it’ll find a new home any time soon.

Given the everyday nature of Major League Baseball, it’s surprising there have not been more conflicts for NYCFC. We just remain hopeful for the day we can watch NYC’s star-studded roster play on a bigger home field.

“Injustice.” “Incomprehensible.” Ronaldo again protests suspension

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The five-game suspension Cristiano Ronaldo received for making contact with an official is not sitting well with the forward.

Better put: it’s still not sitting well.

Six days ago, Ronaldo took to Instagram to say he was being persecuted after his red card in the Spanish Super Cup.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Tuesday afternoon, he kept up the strong words by saying the suspension is “incomprehensible” and “an injustice.”

Roughly translated, Ronaldo posted, “One more incomprehensible decision. From injustice to injustive, they will never overcome me. And as always I will come back stronger. Thank you to all who have supported me.”

We’ll say this: He’s a really good soccer player.

Barca to offer Liverpool $176M for Coutinho

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Barcelona is insane.

Desperate following a rough two-legged loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, the Blaugranas are reportedly ready to offer $176 million to Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho.

Read it again: $176 million for Philippe Coutinho. It’s about $126 million with $12 million more when Barca clinches a UCL spot over the next four seasons (which they have done every year since finishing sixth in 2002-03).

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Even in this transfer market, that’s nuts. Crazy to offer, and maybe even crazier not to accept.

That’s pretty much two-thirds of the Neymar money. Two-thirds (I keep repeating myself with this story)

It’s even a convenient out for Jurgen Klopp, who’s said Liverpool is not a selling club. Here, he can say with a straight face that the club can improve with this money by selling a player who has — and I recognize it’s not all about goals and assists — one double-digit goal season in his career and a career single-season high of seven PL assists (done thrice).

Almost anyone who’s had the audacity to say the Reds should accept the bid has often been shot down by the Anfield faithful online. “It’ll ruin our season” and “How do we replace him this late?” are the common cries.

To the first question: No, it won’t. To the second: Easy?

It’s not like-for-like, but nearly every player in the world is available for $176 million. It’s not like-for-like, but here’s a short list: Antoine Griezmann, Gareth Bale, Paulo Dybala, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus… Shoot! Klopp could sign 2-3 of his favorite BVB alums.

With this fee, Coutinho would become the second-highest transfer fee of all-time, behind only Neymar. There are makeweights Barcelona could offer that would make the deal even more intriguing to the Reds: Arda Turan, Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez.

Look at it from a neutral’s eyes — which I know is hard from the number of times I’ve read @ Tweets that say, “The only people who would like this deal are fans of Chelsea or United!” — at some point, it becomes unreasonable to not take advantage of Barcelona’s desperation. Maybe Coutinho is worth the “fit” for Barca, but rejecting this fee is more illogical than the offer itself.

At the risk of inflaming every more Liverpool supporters, Ross Barkley is probably going to cost someone $35 million and he’s a year and a half younger (Coutinho is a superior player right now, but we’re talking about the market here).

And, lastly, at some point you’re telling your entire team room that you’re willing to turn down near record money — it would be the highest non-buyout clause transfer ever — to keep a player from his dream club.

Take the money. Use it. Move on.