Monday, January 11, 2016

Fan Lawsuit Could Change How We Watch MLB Games

A little-known federal lawsuit will begin next week in New York—pitting fans against Major League Baseball. The case—Garber vs. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball—challenges the territorial broadcast monopoly enjoyed by MLB teams. According to Nathaniel Grow of, the plaintiffs contend that Major League Baseball's "existing broadcast policies violate the Sherman Antitrust Act by illegally limiting competition and consumer choice, ultimately increasing the price we pay for televised baseball." The league contends that current broadcast restrictions "increase both the quantity and quality of games aired on television, to the benefit of fans." If the judge finds in favor of the plaintiffs, it could revolutionize how we watch baseball games—with teams free to make independent broadcasting deals around the country. Like the Red Sox piping NESN into Fargo, North Dakota—or even better, the Bronx. While a decision could be reached in a few weeks, the losing side will probably appeal—avoiding any impact on the 2016 season.