US sports fans gain an antitrust victory against MLB

An antitrust lawsuit over regional sports networks (RSNs) is poised to go forward after Manhattan Court Judge Shira Scheindlin rejected a request for dismissal by defendants Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Comcast and DirecTV.

Because RSNs often have exclusive rights to broadcast baseball and hockey games for their respective local areas, in their areas, and are often carried under the auspices of their parent pay-TV companies, many consumers in a given market find themselves unable to watch their home team play. For instance, Comcast holds the broadcast rights for pro sports in Philadelphia, meaning that DirecTV and DISH Network subscribers are out of luck when it comes to watching home games.

For its part, the MLB said that a 1922 Supreme Court ruling exempts it from antitrust scrutiny — an argument that Scheindlin roundly rejected.



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