Monday, June 07, 2010

Anti Anti-Trust

A recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court (by a unanimous decision, no less) could signal radical changes in the way the NFL does business, especially in terms of sports merchandising and marketing.

The court voted that an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL can go forward. The suit was brought by an apparel manufacturer and claims that the NFL's exclusive apparel contract with Reebok constitutes a monopoly. In essence, the court said that the NFL is not one single entity, but rather 32 different businesses. Justice John Paul Stevens said, "Decisions by the NFL teams to license their separately owned trademarks collectively and to only one vendor are decisions that 'deprive the marketplace of independent centers of decision making,' and therefore of actual or potential competition."

Thus, if the suit is successful, NFL teams would be free to cut their own deals with a variety of merchandisers and marketers. It also suggests that the rich, popular teams would get the best deals and become even more richer and more popular ... something Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones figured out more than a decade ago.

This is all very important for those in sports media and marketing, but one important question remains--why is major league baseball the only sport that still retains an antitrust exemption?


Blogger 慶天 said...


7:26 AM  

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