For more than a half-century, Major League Baseball's exemption from antitrust laws has intrigued sports fans and legal scholars alike. It seems only fitting that America's pastime would have an exemption with origins as mysterious and debated as the sport itself. Created by the Supreme Court and reinforced by Congress, the "baseball exemption" in the modern era continues to generate litigation. Like an umpire determining whether a baseball is fair or foul, courts today must judge the boundaries of baseball's exemption. Major League Baseball's owners may benefit from the exemption, but its fans often pay the price. The League has divided the United States into different geographic television markets, which makes it more difficult for fans to watch out-of-market broadcasts. Upset over this policy, fans sued Major League Baseball in 2012 and alleged its broadcast policy unreasonably restrains trade, in violation of antitrust laws. In August of 2014, Judge Shira Scheindlin, in the Southern District of New York, denied Major League Baseball's motion for summary judgment. To the detriment of baseball fans, this Note argues that baseball broadcasting falls within the broad "business of baseball" exemption to antitrust laws. This Note provides an overview of the baseball exemption, including its origins and developments in the judicial system. It also analyzes and challenges Judge Scheindlin's view of the exemption. As technology develops, litigation over the exemption will involve baseball activities, like broadcasting, that could have never been imagined when the exemption was first enacted, so understanding its boundaries is critical.
Ware, Jacob M.
"Intentional Pass: Analyzing Baseball's Antitrust Exemption as Applied to Broadcasting Agreements in Laumann v. National Hockey League,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 49:
3, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol49/iss3/7