Class Action Suit From College Athletes Against Fantasy Sports Continues in Federal Court
On Wednesday, May 18, 2016, former NCAA athletes moved their lawsuit against major fantasy sports sites FanDuel and Draftkings to Indiana federal court. The lawsuit was initiated earlier this month when a group of former athletes sued FanDuel and Draftkings over the unauthorized use of the players’ names and likeness for fantasy sports betting. The class action alleges that the fantasy sports sites used the players’ names and likenesses to promote fantasy college sports contests for which they charged fees and generated about $3 billion.
This action comes just weeks after other former athletes voluntarily dismissed a similar lawsuit against FanDuel and Draftkings in Illinois. However, the claims asserted in the current lawsuit slightly differ from the Illinois lawsuit. The Illinois suit was pretty over-inclusive in that included college athletes who played since November 2011. The lawsuit asserted various claims ranging from allegations under the Lanham Act to violations of publicity rights under New York and Massachusetts law, the states where the fantasy sports sites are based. The current action is a little simpler in that it alleges a violation of Indiana’s publicity rights and includes players from May 2014 through the present.
Although FanDuel and Draftkings made an attempt resolve some of these disputes in March when they announced the sites would suspend college sports fantasy contests, that announcement has not stopped college athletes from bringing these claims and asserting their rights.