Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1373065
 


 



A Proper Analysis of the National Football League Under Section One of the Sherman Act


Nathaniel Grow


University of Georgia - Department of Insurance, Legal Studies, Real Estate

April 11, 2008

Texas Review of Entertainment & Sports Law, Vol. 9, 2008

Abstract:     
The National Football League ("NFL") has often attempted to avoid antitrust liability by asserting that the league constitutes a single entity, incapable of illegal collusion for purposes of section 1 of the Sherman Act. Viewed properly, the NFL and its member-teams are a single entity with respect to matters of non-labor policy. Not only do the league and its teams share a unity of interest, but the economic realities of professional football necessitate that the league and its teams be considered a single economic unit. However, most courts to consider the NFL's single entity defense have rejected the league's argument. These courts have improperly focused their analysis on trivial aspects of the NFL's league structure, while marginalizing the more relevant factors to be considered under the Supreme Court's decision in Copperweld.

Recently, the district court in American Needle diverged from these erroneous precedents, instead holding that the NFL is a single entity with respect to licensing of league trademarks. While American Needle represents a significant advance in NFL single entity jurisprudence, the opinion may nevertheless prove to be of limited precedential value. This article concludes that future courts considering the issue should follow the approach taken in American Needle, and find that the NFL is a single entity with respect to league nonlabor policy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 25

Keywords: Sports Law, Single Entity Status, National Football League, NFL, Copperweld, American Needle, Antitrust law, Sherman Act

JEL Classification: K21, K39

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Date posted: April 5, 2009 ; Last revised: June 30, 2009

Suggested Citation

Grow, Nathaniel, A Proper Analysis of the National Football League Under Section One of the Sherman Act (April 11, 2008). Texas Review of Entertainment & Sports Law, Vol. 9, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1373065

Contact Information

Nathaniel Grow (Contact Author)
University of Georgia - Department of Insurance, Legal Studies, Real Estate ( email )
Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States
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