NFL and DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket” Subject of Antitrust Lawsuit

On Friday, October 16, 2015, five plaintiffs brought suit against the NFL, its 32 teams, DirecTV, CBS, NBC, Fox, and ESPN, alleging that current NFL broadcasting agreements violate the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The plaintiffs allege that DirecTV’s “NFL Sunday Ticket” stifles competition and unfairly raises prices. Currently, the NFL Sunday Ticket — an out-of-market sports package — is the only way for viewers to watch regular season games outside of the limited games available on CBS, NBC, Fox, NFL Network, and ESPN. This, the plaintiffs…
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NFL and Others Seek Continued Stay in Discovery Proceedings — At Least for Now

The National Football League, Associated Press, and seven professional photographers recently took shots at each other in an attempt to persuade the court on whether or not to grant a motion to stay discovery indefinitely, or at least until the federal court has had the opportunity to rule on the defendants’ motions to dismiss. Brought in the Southern District of New York, the lawsuit relates to claims made by the photographers against the NFL, AP, Getty Images, and NFL Replay for copyright infringement and antitrust…
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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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PGA Tour – Not Quite Out of the Rough Just Yet

On Friday, October 9, 2015, attorneys for a group of professional caddies filed a motion in opposition of dismissal against the PGA Tour, citing violations of antitrust law, the Sherman Act, and the Lanham Act. The class action lawsuit, originally filed in February, centers around the issues of forced advertisement without proper remuneration and unfair trade practices, as the caddies argue the Tour obligated the plaintiffs wear bibs adorned with corporate sponsors not chosen by them at televised tournaments. In opposition to the now second
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Supreme Court Again Refuses to Hear Case Involving Antitrust Exemption for MLB

The U. S. Supreme Court will not be hearing the latest in a long-line of antitrust suits filed against Major League Baseball, as it was determined Monday that the city of San Jose’s petition for certiorari was denied.  The city had filed the petition in response to a dismissal on appeal in the Ninth Circuit earlier in January of this year. The antitrust lawsuit came about in 2013 after San Jose had unsuccessfully attempted to relocate the Oakland Athletics an hour South along the Californian…
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NCAA Athlete Compensation: The Ninth Circuit Filed its Opinion on Appeal

On September 30, 2015, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals filed its opinion in the appeal of the O’Bannon v. NCAA antitrust lawsuit.  At the federal trial court level, District Court Judge Claudia Wilken held that the NCAA’s ban on compensating student athletes violates federal antitrust laws.  Judge Wilken concluded that “less restrictive” means were available to preserve student athletes’ amateur status, and therefore, she held that NCAA member universities were permitted to engage in the following acts: (1) universities may grant to student…
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MLB Continues Fight Against Fans in Antitrust Cable Lawsuit

In 2012, sports fans filed suit against the MLB, NHL, and the Yankees Sports & Entertainment Network (YES), among others, alleging that their TV “blackout” rules are illegal. Sports leagues’ TV blackout rules have long frustrated sports fans. U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin provided an example of a typical situation for out-of-market sports fans in her 2015 opinion granting class action certification: A Yankees fan who lives in Iowa cannot purchase only the YES Network—as a fan living in New York can—he must…
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Minor Leaguers’ Antitrust Action Against MLB is Dismissed

On September 14, 2015, a federal judge in California granted Major League Baseball’s motion to dismiss the minor league players’ antitrust action. The class action claimed that the MLB violated federal antitrust law, alleging that the league suppressed the compensation of minor league players through its antitrust exemption. This historic exemption was established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1922. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr.’s decision dismissed the case pursuant to a January 2015 decision in which the 9th Circuit upheld the MLB’s antitrust…
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The NCAA Continues Opposition of Class Certification in Scholarship Antitrust Actions

On Tuesday September 8, 2015, the NCAA continued its opposition of class certification in a multidistrict antitrust litigation, which seeks to reduce NCAA restrictions on scholarship caps for Bowl Subdivision D-1 football players and for men’s and women’s basketball teams. The lawsuits, filed on behalf of past and current NCAA athletes, also aim to reduce restrictions on what schools can offer their players—like compensation, for example. The plaintiff’s initial filing seeking class certification came in April 2015. For the individual cases to be certified,…
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