Many athletes pump themselves up before game time by slipping on a pair of headphones and cranking up the volume on their favorite songs. But players may need to make a change to that routine, at the behest of the NFL and its new sponsor, Bose. According to Recode, the NFL has banned players and coaches from wearing any brand of headphones — other than Bose — during televised interviews and other on-camera appearances. The restrictions are in place during all games, as well as pre-season training camps and practice sessions, and it extends from the pre-game through to post-game interviews in the locker room up to 90 minutes after the whistle is blown.
In an emailed statement, the NFL sought to distance Bose from the league's policy. "The NFL has longstanding policies that prohibit branded exposure on-field or during interviews unless authorized by the league. These policies date back to the early 1990s and continue today." The statement continues, "They are the NFL’s policies — not one of the league’s sponsors, Bose in this case. Bose is not involved in the enforcement of our policies." A spokesperson noted that players could cover up logos on unauthorized gear.
The news comes after a new sponsorship deal signed with Bose over the offseason that saw it replace Motorola as the provider of sideline headsets. Bloomberg reported at the time that Motorola had paid roughly $40 million a season for the privilege during its 13-year run with the NFL. The terms of Bose's deal with the NFL have not been disclosed. Considering Bose has paid up to join the NFL, it would make sense to cut off free advertising that its rivals receive when players wear their competing headphones — often emblazoned with a massive red Beats logo — before the game and during interviews.
Update, October 5th, 2014 1:27AM ET: Added a statement from the NFL.