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Why the 'Single Entity' Defense Can Never Apply to NFL Clubs: A Primer on Property Rights Theory in Professional Sports


Marc Edelman


City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business; Fordham University School of Law

2008

Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 18, No. 4, 2008

Abstract:     
This article argues that as a matter of law and economics, clubs in the four premier American sports leagues lack sufficient unity of interest for any court to classify them as "single entities." Part I of this article discusses the contemporary law-and-economics theory underlying the allocation of private and common property. Part II explains the three different property-rights systems that have emerged in American professional sports: (1) the pure private property system (no unity of interest); (2) the pure common property system (complete unity of interest); and (3) the mixed-mode system (partial unity of interest). Part III describes the contractual underpinnings of the mixed-mode property system, as that system applies to the four premier American sports leagues. Part IV analyzes the allocation of property rights in the mixed-mode system and explains why sports clubs operating in that system cannot form a "single-entity" league.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 37

Keywords: sports law, antitrust, Sherman Act, single entity, Copperweld, American Needle, licensing, National Football League, NFL, NFL Properties

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Date posted: October 30, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Edelman, Marc, Why the 'Single Entity' Defense Can Never Apply to NFL Clubs: A Primer on Property Rights Theory in Professional Sports (2008). Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 18, No. 4, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1291974

Contact Information

Marc Edelman (Contact Author)
City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business ( email )
One Bernard Baruch Way
Box B9-220
New York, NY 10010
United States
Fordham University School of Law ( email )
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
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