Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

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

37 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2008  

Marc Edelman

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

Date Written: 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.

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

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1291974

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,243
Rank
12,415
Abstract Views
6,808