Judge Gives Final Approval of $200 Million MLB Settlement
On April 25, 2016, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin gave her final approval of the settlement resolving the antitrust claims against MLB. The settlement, which is worth $200 million, lowers the price MLB fans pay to watch games online.
The suit began in 2012 when fans brought a class action lawsuit against MLB claiming its territorial blackout policies and policy to sell only league wide game packages violated antitrust laws. The fans complained that the policies prevented them from buying access to watch only the teams they were interested in.
As part of the settlement, MLB has agreed to offer single team packages in its online streaming services. This offer will lower the price MLB fans pay to watch games online. However, not all MLB fans are a fan of this outcome. Earlier this month, a class member objected to the settlement on the grounds that it failed to provide relief to those fans who no longer pay for online subscriptions. Although Judge Scheindlin awarded $16.5 million to plaintiffs’ counsel, she rejected the claims of the objector and maintained that only subscribers were a part of the settlement.
Judge Scheindlin acknowledged that “fans would certainly have preferred more changes.” However, she also stated “that’s not the way settlement works.”