Bad news for MLB, as the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear MLB’s appeal of a case where the league lost the ability to demand royalties from fantasy sports leagues that use MLB stats and players for their business. Here are two different articles covering this important decision: (Futterman, Matthew. “Fantasy Sports Score Victory.” Wall Street Journal, June 2008.) and (Reuters. “MLB loses fantasy sports appeal.” June 2, 2008.). Dare I say MLB’s greed to squeeze out every penny from fantasy sports has cost it, and the other pro leagues, the revenue they received prior to this litigation?
The immediate implication of the court ruling is clear; fantasy sports leagues don’t have to pay any royalties to professional sports leagues like MLB in order to use the statistics and player names that occur during the course of a season. If MLB and the MLBPA can’t get revenue from fantasy sports leagues, then MLB will have to rely on it’s own fantasy league as the single source of potential revenue in a lucrative market. This might also strain MLB’s relationship with other pro leagues, like the NFL in particular, where fantasy sports meant millions upon millions of dollars went into NFL coffers every season. If I was the NFL, I’d be more than a little ticked off at MLB right now.
While I doubt the peaceful relationship between fantasy leagues and MLB would have lasted forever, it seems like MLB tried to bully smaller operators like C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing around by denying them a license. What did MLB care; they could’ve had at least some revenue from C.B.C. Dist. & Marketing, and now MLB has lost everything. Fantasy sports isn’t an exclusive commodity; it was something created for fans by fans, and MLB deserves this ruling against it for trying to bully other companies around.
(Photo Credit: www.cdmsports.com)
1.) If MLB hadn’t tried to limit who used info for fantasy sports leagues, do you think that one of the leagues themselves would have initiated litigation to use the info for free, or kept the status quo indefinitely?