Judge OKs MLB Antitrust Settlement

On Monday, January 25, 2016, a federal judge gave her approval of a settlement agreement between the MLB and sports fans over territorial blackouts and high prices for out-of-market sports packages. The suit began four years ago when a group of sports fans sued the MLB, the National Hockey League (NHL), individual clubs, Comcast, and DirecTV. According to the fans, the defendants agreed in the early 1980s to divide up the country into geographic territories so that only one or a few teams could broadcast…
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Recent Antitrust Settlement a Win-Win for MLB and Sports Fans

Joseph Hanna, Chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment Law Practice Group, weighed in on a recent settlement between Major League Baseball and sports fans over territorial blackouts and high prices for sports packages. The settlement came just moments before a trial was set to begin on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. As Joe concludes in the article for Law360, “They could have gone to trial, and who knows how it would have been decided. The opportunity to settle a case and have what…
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MLB Fans’ Antitrust Suit Settles on Brink of Trial

Tuesday, January 19, 2016  was supposed to mark the beginning of a trial between sports fans and Major League Baseball (MLB) over territorial blackouts and high prices for sports packages. However, just moments before the trial was to begin, the two sides reached a settlement. The suit began four years ago when a group of sports fans sued the MLB, the National Hockey League (NHL), individual clubs, Comcast, and DirecTV. According to the fans, the defendants agreed in the early 1980s to divide up the…
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Major League Baseball Strikes Back Against Request from Fans for Deposition

On October 19, 2015, Major League Baseball and its co-defendants quickly responded to a letter written by baseball fans to Hon. Judge Scheindlin asking for permission to depose Commissioner Robert Manfred. While the fans in the antitrust lawsuit are seeking to depose the Commissioner in regards to MLB broadening the topics Mr. Manfred is to testify to at trial, the defendants responded with some rather convincing arguments to Judge Scheindlin in opposition. First, MLB argues that the fans should not be able to depose the…
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Fans Write Judge, Seek Commissioner’s Deposition

On October 14, 2015, a letter was written to Hon. Judge Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York asking for the opportunity to depose MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred. The letter, written by counsel representing a class of baseball fans, is in relation to an antitrust class action suit filed in 2012 against Major League Baseball and its broadcasting blackout rules. The fans are challenging the restrictions that MLB and the major cable and satellite companies are able to impose on local television broadcasting for…
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Will It Soon Be Lights Out for the Black Out Rule?

Exciting news was announced for sports fans living in towns with fluctuating home game attendance this week.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it is reviewing the need for the “blackout” rule. The nearly 40 year old rule prevents satellite and cable companies from televising NFL Events in a team’s home market if the game does not sell out.  The blackout rule was developed when teams earned a significant portion of their revenue from ticket sales.  The idea was implemented in 1975 to encourage fans…
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