The Sport of Cybersecurity: How Professional Sports Leagues Can Better Protect the Competitive Integrity of Their Games

58 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2019 Last revised: 28 Mar 2019

See all articles by Nathaniel Grow

Nathaniel Grow

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Law

Scott Shackelford

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Law; Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs; Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research; Stanford Center for Internet and Society; Stanford Law School

Date Written: October 15, 2018

Abstract

From an MLB scouting director using a cyber attack to break into a competitor’s records, to an NBA franchise being compromised in a phishing scheme, U.S. professional sports leagues are waking up to the fact that cybersecurity is no longer just a problem for the government or tech firms—it’s now reached into the playing field, locker room, and boardroom. But leagues have been slow to react to this change with often outdated policies on issues like trade secrets protections, Internet of Things (IoT) availability, and critical infrastructure security. This Article breaks new ground by focusing in on how well the four major U.S. professional sports leagues—Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL)—are mitigating these cyber risks as they relate to the competitive integrity of their games, and proposes a way ahead to get owners, players, and fans more engaged in these issues in an effort to proactively ward off worst-case scenarios.

Keywords: sports, cybersecurity, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, trade secrets, critical infrastructure

Suggested Citation

Grow, Nathaniel and Shackelford, Scott J., The Sport of Cybersecurity: How Professional Sports Leagues Can Better Protect the Competitive Integrity of Their Games (October 15, 2018). Boston College Law Review, 2020; Kelley School of Business Research Paper No. 19-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3266189

Nathaniel Grow

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Law ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Scott J. Shackelford (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Law ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs ( email )

79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research ( email )

Wylie Hall 105
100 South Woodlawn
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Stanford Center for Internet and Society ( email )

Palo Alto, CA
United States

Stanford Law School ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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