May 28
10:42 AM

NFL Banned from Playing Monopoly with Reebok

Football fans, before you buy your next team jersey, read the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in American Needle v. National Football League. Handing the teams a "Go back 5 spaces card," the court said that

decisions by the NFLP regarding the teams’ separately owned intellectual property constitute concerted action. Thirty-two teams operating independently through the vehicle of the NFLP are not like the components of a single firm that act to maximize the firm’s profits. The teams remain separately controlled, potential competitors  with economic interests that are distinct from NFLP’s financial well-being. …

The fact that NFL teams share an interest in making the entire league successful and profitable, and that they must cooperate in the production and scheduling of games, provides a perfectly sensible justification for making a host of collective decisions. But the conduct at issue in this case is still concerted activity under the Sherman Act that is subject to §1 analysis.


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