PlayerSearch Blog

by Ted Kasten, Founder of PlayerSearch

MLB files petition with Supreme Court to Monopolize Fantasy Sports

MLBAM and the MLBPA have filed a petition to the Supreme Court to continue their battle with CDM Sports (my long-time business partner) over the right to use baseball player names and stats in a fantasy game. In short, MLB wants to monopolize fantasy baseball to make sure that MLB benefits directly from any subscription or ad revenue generated from the 4-6 million fans that play fantasy baseball.

According to Eric Fisher at SportsBusiness Daily:

“The pair’s [MLB and MLBPA] filing to the Supreme Court argues that a series of prior lower court rulings involving First Amendment and right of publicity issues have created an inconsistent mess, and that “the appropriate legal test for balancing state-law publicity rights and First Amendment interest is a recurring and important question on which this Court’s instruction is needed.”

Full article: http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=sbd.main&articleID=118908

This filing does not mean that the case will be heard by the Supreme Court, in fact it is highly likely this case will be thrown out. Lawyers involved with this case have stated in the past that MLB had a better chance of winning this case at the state level than the federal level because of the protection provided by the First Amendment.

In its efforts to litigate this issue, and subsequently losing, MLB has lost at least $4-$6 million in annual licensing revenue from ESPN, Yahoo, Fox, CBS and other smaller fantasy baseball operators that are no longer forced to pay these licensing fees. MLB’s loss has also affected all other sports leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL, Nascar, etc.) as they are no longer able to force companies into paying licensing fees to operate fantasy games for their sports. The winners of all this are the small businesses that MLB was trying to shut down and customers who benefit from lower prices and more innovation.

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February 29, 2008 Posted by | MLB Legal Case, Supreme Court | , , , | Leave a comment