Court Allows Antitrust Challenge to TV Sports Deals

6 Dec

As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, a federal judge is allowing an antitrust case against the consumer pricing of some TV sports packages: “A class-action lawsuit challenging the way Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League have carved up TV rights became a much bigger deal Wednesday after a New York federal judge refused to dismiss the antitrust allegations. In May, several baseball fans filed a lawsuit against the leagues, as well as certain broadcast partners including Comcast and DirecTV, alleging the defendants were conspiring to make consumers pay a lot for ‘out of market’ games and blacking out ‘in market’ telecasts on MLB’s digital service. In reaction to the lawsuit, the leagues offered several reasons why the claims should fail. Among their arguments for dismissal was that the activities are the ‘very core of what professional sports league ventures do — sell their jointly created product’ to broadcasters. The state of the multibillion-dollar sports TV industry is widely regarded as a given, but U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin’s 53-page decision could rattle this belief to the core.”

Click the image to view Judge Scheindlin’s full preliminary ruling.

 

7 Responses to “Court Allows Antitrust Challenge to TV Sports Deals”

  1. David Utnick December 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    To purchase the “MLB Extra Innings” package, you can expect to spend over $200 for the season subscription. Many consumers purchase this added package to see a single team not broadcasted in their local market, yet must purchase broadcasts to all “out of market” games. This package still does not cover online viewing during exclusive broadcast windows such as Fox Saturday Baseball, ESPN Sunday Night baseball, or other national broadcasts. As programming moves across all platforms, online broadcasting of the MLB and NHL should move to these easing restrictions and offer less costly options for online viewership.

    • Evans on Marketing December 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

      Unless the case is settled, it could take years for this issue to work its way through the court system.

      • David Utnick December 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

        Very true,
        While court proceedings may take years, the MLB is currently considering combining its Extra Innings and Mlb.tv into one subscription to further meet the present demand for live-streaming games from consumers.

        http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2012/11/19/Media/Sports-Media.aspx

      • David Utnick December 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

        Very true while court proceedings may take years, the MLB is currently considering combining its Extra Innings and Mlb.tv into one subscription according to the Sports Business Journal. This is another move further meet demand for live out of market games across platforms.

      • Evans on Marketing December 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

        Good comment!

  2. Konstantinos December 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    That is interesting, especially as the networks are now loosing audience everyday due to the fact that young generations are not watching TV as much as their parents did. As a result this will reduce the revenues generated from advertisements in the TV networks further in the future.

  3. Thomas Joseph December 19, 2012 at 3:49 am #

    I feel that if online streaming of games were added to such packages, much of the fan uproar regarding this subject would disappear.

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