Robert Kraft One of First to Tackle Ownership of New eSports League

Videogame maker Activision Blizzard Inc. announced on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, that seven international cities that will field teams for its upcoming Overwatch League, with buyers including New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, and chief operating officer for the New York Mets, Jeff Wilpon. Kraft will have ownership rights to a Boston-based team, and Wilpon will help field a team based in New York. Other cities will include Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Seoul. The buy-in price for Los Angeles-based Immortals and San Francisco-based NRG eSports is $20 million per slot to be paid over time. The prices for the teams in Boston and New York have not yet been disclosed. Reportedly, there will be no revenue sharing among the teams until 2021, when they each will receive ...
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Milwaukee Bucks Dancer Settlement Agreement Not Quite a Slam Dunk

In September 2015, former Milwaukee Bucks dance team member Lauren Herington filed a class action against the NBA franchise, claiming that it engaged in “prolific wage abuse” of her and other members of the dance and cheerleading squads. The suit was filed in Wisconsin’s federal courts, and claimed that Bucks dancers spent hours in training, wardrobe maintenance, practice and dancing at games, as well as appearing at charity events and posing for a calendar. The dancers would be paid a flat rate of $65 per game, $30 for practice and $50 for special appearances. According to the suit, they would earn less than minimum wage most weeks. Herrington’s attorney, Ryan Stephan, stated “the Milwaukee Buck’s emphasis on physical appearance and almost round-the-clock mandatory workouts not only violate applicable law, but ...
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MLB Points to Win Over Minor Leaguers in Attempt to Cut Off Scout’s Appeal

Former Kansas City Royals scout Jordan Wyckoff, and former Colorado Rockies scout Darwin Cox, have sued Major League Baseball for unlawfully suppressing scout’s wages. In September, 2016, the bulk of their suit was dismissed by a New York district court after it was ruled that the scout’s federal and state antitrust claims were barred by the so-called baseball exemption. The exemption was set forth in a 1922 U.S. Supreme Court decision, and it covers employees who are essential to the “business of baseball.” On July 7, 2017, the MLB pointed to a ruling last month by the Ninth Circuit which upheld the baseball antitrust exemption. The Ninth Circuit case, Miranda v. MLB, affirmed a district court ruling which held that minor league players are exempt from federal antitrust law. The ...
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Arkansas Tech Sues NCAA Over Vacated Wins

The NCAA imposed sanctions on the Arkansas Tech athletic program for violations revolving around the school’s failure to monitor its housing operations from 2009 to 2013. Tech waived or paid $14,250 in housing security deposits for 57 prospects during this time period and also reserved on-campus apartments and dorms for student-athletes, which is a NCAA violation. Arkansas Tech believes the sanctions imposed by the NCAA are excessive and that the organization abused its discretion in the disciplinary process. Arkansas Tech contends the NCAA has failed to explain why the school’s self-imposed penalties, which included financial aid reductions for men’s and women’s basketball recruits, and other recruiting limitations, were not sufficient. The allegedly excessive additional sanctions set forth by the NCAA included vacating all wins by both the men’s and women’s ...
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Dropping The Gloves: NHL Fights Back at Player’s Bid to Exclude Expert Testimony

The NHL has responded to a bid to remove expert testimony the league believes improves their attempt to defeat class certification. The NHL’s response is the latest development in the December bid to certify a class by the league’s former players who claim that the league failed to warn them of the various known risks and diseases associated with repeated head trauma. The players believe the league’s expert testimony is cumulative and will confuse a jury due to its amount of similar and supposedly irrelevant evidence and information. The NHL does not see the testimonies as cumulative but rather as valued declarations from some of the most qualified experts in the world, with information simply addressing a similar topic but with different perspectives from multiple disciplines. The NHL feels that ...
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Riddell and Xenith Reach Settlement

On Wednesday, July 5, 2017, Riddell reached an undisclosed settlement to resolve their patent infringement claims against fellow helmet-maker Xenith. The lawsuit had alleged that Xenith infringed upon Riddell’s patents relating to the basic shape and design of their helmets, including the outer shell and ventilation features of the helmet. The Xenith models in question were their varsity and youth EPIC and X2E helmets. This settlement comes years after another case filed by Riddell against Schutt Sports resulted in a jury awarding Riddell $29 million in 2008.
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Out of Bounds: Court Rules Against Golf Tailor’s Counterclaims in IP Dispute

In February, GolfBestBuy filed suit in California’s Federal Courts against Golf Tailor, accusing Golf Tailor of purchasing their clubs through authorized reseller Golf Gifts and Gallery Inc., and then, after gauging customer interest, going to a Chinese manufacturer to produce counterfeits. Counterfeit goods from China continue to hinder U.S. markets, and cost U.S. businesses billions a year in lost profits. According to the suit, Golf Tailor bought more than 100,000 clubs from GGG at a unit price of $17 apiece and then sold the clubs at $99. On Wednesday, July 5, 2017, U.S. magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler ruled that support for 13 counterclaims and five affirmative defenses by Golf Tailor lacked proper factual support. For Golf Tailor’s counterclaims one through 12, their arguments centered on allegations that their co-founder and ...
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Fox Sports Top Executive Fired

On Monday, July 3, 2017, Fox Sports, which is owned by 21st Century Fox, fired top executive Jamie Horowitz after a week-long investigation into alleged sexual harassment. Horowitz has been credited with introducing an influx of hotly-contested sports debate television shows to Fox Sports One following his departure from ESPN. His firing comes after other high profile Fox executives Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly were recently forced out or fired due to similar allegations, resulting in Fox paying approximately $45 million in settlements over the last year alone. Sports Illustrated (SI) reported that a production assistant alleged that Horowitz attempted to kiss her outside of the workplace at some time last year after he promised he would be able to get her more work. Horowitz is fighting the allegations, and ...
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MLB Tagged with Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Angel Hernandez, an umpire for Major League Baseball, has sued the league along with the commissioner’s office. Hernandez alleges that racial discrimination — along with a long term personal vendetta between Joe Torre and himself — has been hindering his career advancement as a professional baseball umpire. Hernandez filed his complaint in the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, which claimed the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and Major League Baseball Blue Inc. violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio state law. The suit cites criticism by Torre in 2001, where he remarked after a game that Hernandez “seems to see something that nobody else does” and “I think he just wanted to be noticed over there.” The complaint alleges that Torre’s 2001 criticism was ...
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