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View Full Version : Any lawyers on the board (MLB/Reds related)?



Wheelhouse
02-13-2007, 05:03 PM
Wondering if a viable class-action lawsuit could be waged against MLB or DirecTV for this new programming injustice...

membengal
02-13-2007, 05:16 PM
No.

Heath
02-13-2007, 05:17 PM
How many lawyers on this board?

I think there's a link to this site from the Cincinnati Bar Association.

top6
02-13-2007, 05:40 PM
almost certainly no. baseball has the "antitrust exemption", so virtually impossible to sue mlb for anticompetitive behavior.

direct tv has been down this path with the nfl.

only possible argument that i see would be if mlb had somehow led its consumers to believe that it would make extra innings available on cable, and consumers could prove that they somehow relied on that represenation to their detriment. not sure how you could show that, though.

best hope to resolve this is pressure from congress; mlb does not want to lose that antitrust exemption, i promise you that.

Wheelhouse
02-13-2007, 06:39 PM
But is MLB causing the restriction, or DirecTV, which has no antitrust exemption? Can MLB just share their immunity with any company it associates with?

membengal
02-13-2007, 06:40 PM
MLB is. DirecTV is simply a consumer.

Wheelhouse
02-13-2007, 06:51 PM
But can DirecTV be sued for imposing the restriction? Especially since consumers cannot obtain a comparable product from another vendor? THEY are trying to monopolize the broadcasts of MLB, not MLB. I think it is an interesting legal question--can MLB effectively license out it's monopoly creating power to other vendors who are not protected under the anti-trust exemption?

top6
02-13-2007, 07:50 PM
wheelhouse, i don't know the details at all; all I know is the DirecTV has been down this road with the NFL - which DOESN'T have an antitrust exemption - and is still the exclusive provider of Direct Ticket.

pedro
02-13-2007, 08:02 PM
wheelhouse, i don't know the details at all; all I know is the DirecTV has been down this road with the NFL - which DOESN'T have an antitrust exemption - and is still the exclusive provider of Direct Ticket.

But the NFL never offered the "package" though anyone other than DirectTV and doesn't have an anti-trust exemption to protect.

While I don't think that we as fans will be able to do anything on a legal level I do believe that this action by MLB does endanger their case for the exemption on the basis of MLb being the "national pastime" and I also believe that there are members of congress who will use this against MLB, even if it is just to get a name for themselves.

Wheelhouse
02-13-2007, 10:38 PM
But the NFL never offered the "package" though anyone other than DirectTV and doesn't have an anti-trust exemption to protect.

While I don't think that we as fans will be able to do anything on a legal level I do believe that this action by MLB does endanger their case for the exemption on the basis of MLb being the "national pastime" and I also believe that there are members of congress who will use this against MLB, even if it is just to get a name for themselves.

Good. I just hope some way can be found to hurt both MLB and DirecTV in the pocket. I have to give him this--Selig is a gutsy poker player. Hating MLB is not a long distance from hating the teams individually, and fans almost universally LOATHE MLB as an organization. When does that distaste start hitting the teams themselves?

jmcclain19
02-13-2007, 11:39 PM
To answer your first question wheelhouse - there are several lawyers and several law students who are active Redszone members - but I'll let them pipe up if they so choose.

cincinnati chili
02-13-2007, 11:50 PM
I'm still a law student, but know antitrust law and sports law pretty well.

People are correct. The answer is "no." And it's not just MLB, but all of the Big Four sports that have a limited antitrust exemption for the purpose of broadcasting.

See: The Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 (http://www.sportslawnews.com/archive/jargon/ljsportsbroadcasingact.htm)

While I think MLB is probably short-sighted here, they have every right to do this under current laws. I find it interesting that the NFL gets a pass for doing the same thing for out-of-market games.

There's an article on the internet somewhere speculating that MLB Advanced Media is thinking about going public. If so, they can promise potential investors that all of the MLB fanatics who can't get direct TV will be forced to go through them to get out-of-market games.

Outshined_One
02-14-2007, 12:04 AM
I'm still a law student, but know antitrust law and sports law pretty well.

People are correct. The answer is "no." And it's not just MLB, but all of the Big Four sports that have a limited antitrust exemption for the purpose of broadcasting.

See: The Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 (http://www.sportslawnews.com/archive/jargon/ljsportsbroadcasingact.htm)

While I think MLB is probably short-sighted here, they have every right to do this under current laws. I find it interesting that the NFL gets a pass for doing the same thing for out-of-market games.

There's an article on the internet somewhere speculating that MLB Advanced Media is thinking about going public. If so, they can promise potential investors that all of the MLB fanatics who can't get direct TV will be forced to go through them to get out-of-market games.

Pretty much what he said.

One thing to tack onto this post is that Congressmen frequently dangle the antitrust exemption over various sports' heads when the Congressmen want to pander to their constituents or get media attention for whatever reason. A lot of smoke was blown during the steroid frenzy about taking away MLB's antitrust exemption if they did not comply with various Congressional demands.

The place you're going to see the huge fights are going to be involving other cable and satellite companies against DirecTV and MLB. The NFL is trying to get ESPN-like rates (each cable TV station gets a percentage depending on their popularity) for the NFL Network to show on packages like Comcast, Charter, Time Warner, and so on. These television providers are really angry, though, because the NFL decided to give DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket and because these providers are unwilling to pay those rates. These providers are only too aware of the packages DirecTV gets and will be the ones to take the NFL and MLB to task, be it in court or at the negotiating table.

pedro
02-14-2007, 02:28 AM
I'm still a law student, but know antitrust law and sports law pretty well.

People are correct. The answer is "no." And it's not just MLB, but all of the Big Four sports that have a limited antitrust exemption for the purpose of broadcasting.

See: The Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 (http://www.sportslawnews.com/archive/jargon/ljsportsbroadcasingact.htm)

While I think MLB is probably short-sighted here, they have every right to do this under current laws. I find it interesting that the NFL gets a pass for doing the same thing for out-of-market games.

There's an article on the internet somewhere speculating that MLB Advanced Media is thinking about going public. If so, they can promise potential investors that all of the MLB fanatics who can't get direct TV will be forced to go through them to get out-of-market games.

That's interesting Chili. Thanks for sharing. I still think if they go through with this there will be a lot of noise from congress about it. either way, there's not a chance in hell I'm going to subscribe to Direct TV to get the extra innings package. They can go screw themselves as far as I'm concerned.

membengal
02-14-2007, 09:48 AM
I'm still a law student, but know antitrust law and sports law pretty well.

People are correct. The answer is "no." And it's not just MLB, but all of the Big Four sports that have a limited antitrust exemption for the purpose of broadcasting.

See: The Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 (http://www.sportslawnews.com/archive/jargon/ljsportsbroadcasingact.htm)

While I think MLB is probably short-sighted here, they have every right to do this under current laws. I find it interesting that the NFL gets a pass for doing the same thing for out-of-market games.

There's an article on the internet somewhere speculating that MLB Advanced Media is thinking about going public. If so, they can promise potential investors that all of the MLB fanatics who can't get direct TV will be forced to go through them to get out-of-market games.

To clarify jmc, I'm a lawyer, but since reading and posting on redszone is a hella non-billable event, went for the brevity route with my initial response.

Well done cincy chili, that sums it up very nicely.

westofyou
02-14-2007, 09:53 AM
There's an article on the internet somewhere speculating that MLB Advanced Media is thinking about going public. If so, they can promise potential investors that all of the MLB fanatics who can't get direct TV will be forced to go through them to get out-of-market games.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5867



As I mentioned, there are financial considerations to take into account. The reasonings for MLB to choose DirecTV exclusively as the carrier involves several components:

* DirecTV’s Offering Compared with Cable: As mentioned, the deal with DirecTV totals $700 million over seven years. Determining what cable offered is a bit harder to define. As of this publication, and despite sifting through contacts and research of various broadcast, sports business, and mainstream media, what the total figures and contract length were offered by the cable industry is unknown. If $70 million a year was offered, for the same time period, then the simple answer is to say that due to this deal being related to the Central Fund, the difference of $30 million a year divided by the 30 owners comes to $1 million a year for each of those owners. It seems hardly worth the heartburn that MLB is creating with fans and members of Congress to warrant such action. But, if the deal offered by cable was for a much shorter duration, DirecTV’s offer becomes more enticing.

* ”The Baseball Channel” as the Tipping Point: Probably the single most important aspect of why MLB would choose this route in favor of offering to both EchoStar and cable along with DirecTV is DirecTV’s willingness to place a 24-hour baseball-only channel on their basic tier. This was something that cable was unwilling to do, and given MLB’s high interest since August of 2004 in creating its own 24-hour network, it appears this aspect of the deal is the tipping point. As to why the channel means so much to MLB…

* Content Control as an Asset: As witnessed by MLB Advanced Media’s (MLBAM) overarching of all MLB’s online content, including MLB.com, content control is of particular interest to MLB. There’s good logic for this in the broadcast industry. As one NBA sports executive related to me, by controlling your content you remove the middleman in regional sports networks—your Fox Sports Networks, etc.—and create an asset that you, as an industry, control. The Baseball Channel affords MLB this option, and saves them money by removing RSNs from the equation, gives them better oversight into what content is delivered, and provides them with direct feedback as far as how well the channel is performing.

* Could Making MLBAM an IPO be a Consideration? Ben Silverman, who freelances for Yahoo Finance through FindProfit.com, discussed the deal with me this past week, and he published an interesting aspect of the deal as it pertains to the baseball-only channel. Silverman wrote on Friday (Making Noise: Batter Up! Is Major League Baseball Prepping for an Interactive IPO?):

Late in 2005, MLB scrapped the idea of taking Major League Baseball Advanced Media public. The reason, according to published reports, was that team owners did not want chests full of cash on their doorsteps as they were in the midst of negotiating a new labor contract. That excuse is no longer valid because MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association reached a new five-year agreement last October. ... With the labor contract out of the way, MLB can now focus on taking Major League Baseball Advanced Media public. One of the key assets of the company is, of course, its MLB.TV product. See where I'm going?

Where Silverman was going is that MLBAM's value increases for IPO purposes, by artificially forcing consumers to MLB.TV. It's an interesting point, and as I added in conversation, the timing of the IPO would seem best suited for a day when MLB’s revenues flatten or drop. The IPO, in my view, is a very valuable rainy-day fund for MLB. With the 24-hour baseball-only channel slated to launch in 2009, it would seem that MLB is either priming the pump for an IPO, or sitting back and setting the stage to allow an asset to grow in value by creating a side benefit to the exclusivity of the DirecTV deal.

westofyou
02-14-2007, 09:56 AM
Making Noise: Batter Up! Is Major League Baseball Prepping for an Interactive IPO?

By Ben Silverman, FindProfit.com


Addition By Subtraction: There's a lot of talk these days about Major League Baseball striking a seven-year, $100 million per year deal to sell exclusive rights to its Extra Innings package of out-of-market games to DirecTV (NYSE: DTV - News). No deal has actually been announced, and DirecTV's chief executive officer, Chase Carey, told analysts earlier this week that reports about such a transaction have been "mostly speculation."

http://biz.yahoo.com/indie/070209/620_id.html?.v=1

top6
02-14-2007, 11:53 AM
I'm still a law student... The answer is "no."

See... this is the difference between law students and lawyers. My answer was...
almost certainly no.

This is one lesson they don't teach you in law school. Don't absolutely commit to a position until you absolutely have to! :)

red-in-la
02-14-2007, 12:05 PM
Why the distain for DirecTV? I have had it for a long time so I could get the Bengals and I greatly prefer it over the TW cable I had before that.

top6
02-14-2007, 12:09 PM
Why the distain for DirecTV? I have had it for a long time so I could get the Bengals and I greatly prefer it over the TW cable I had before that.Well, it's not available to many of us, so there is no way for us to get extra innings or direct ticket. I cannot get it because I live in a city and buildings block my view of the satellite.

Wheelhouse
02-14-2007, 12:13 PM
Why the distain for DirecTV? I have had it for a long time so I could get the Bengals and I greatly prefer it over the TW cable I had before that.

My building does not allow satellite antennas.

NJReds
02-14-2007, 12:14 PM
Well, it's not available to many of us, so there is no way for us to get extra innings or direct ticket. I cannot get it because I live in a city and buildings block my view of the satellite.

Not to mention those who live in condos or townhouses that ban satellite antennas.

red-in-la
02-14-2007, 12:31 PM
Oh.....it sounded like some people were just plain upset. I understand the no antenna deal.....my parents had that for a while and my Dad was really pi$$ed.

Outshined_One
02-14-2007, 01:24 PM
This is one lesson they don't teach you in law school. Don't absolutely commit to a position until you absolutely have to! :)

Are you sure about that? ;)

registerthis
02-14-2007, 01:43 PM
Why the distain for DirecTV?

I can't get it.

KYRedsFan
02-14-2007, 02:43 PM
BTW, it is illegal for condo/apartment associations to prevent you from installing DBS satellite dishes on your balcony. That should not prevent you from using DBS for your TV service.

http://www.gotlinks.com/earticles/articles/78938-satellite-dish-for-apartments_-condo_s-_-townhouses.html

pedro
02-14-2007, 04:11 PM
Why the distain for DirecTV? I have had it for a long time so I could get the Bengals and I greatly prefer it over the TW cable I had before that.

I already have cable and get my internet through my cable company too. Personally I resent being forced to make a choice to move to a different platform to get something that I already had and don't intend to allow them to make a profit on something that in the end lessens my choices. Once DirectV has the monopoly what's to keep them from jacking the price up on us because they aren't making the profit they'd like to? It'll happen IMO and I don't intend to help them.

Yachtzee
02-14-2007, 06:31 PM
BTW, it is illegal for condo/apartment associations to prevent you from installing DBS satellite dishes on your balcony. That should not prevent you from using DBS for your TV service.

http://www.gotlinks.com/earticles/articles/78938-satellite-dish-for-apartments_-condo_s-_-townhouses.html

Provided you have a balcony or patio.

RedsBaron
02-14-2007, 08:03 PM
See... this is the difference between law students and lawyers. My answer was...

This is one lesson they don't teach you in law school. Don't absolutely commit to a position until you absolutely have to! :)

Actually, the lesson you also learn once you are in the practice of law: Get a retainer before you provide legal services!;)
You'll note I'm a lawyer and I have offered no advice at all.:)
Of course, I also have no expertise in antitrust law.

SandyD
02-15-2007, 10:49 PM
I already have cable and get my internet through my cable company too. Personally I resent being forced to make a choice to move to a different platform to get something that I already had and don't intend to allow them to make a profit on something that in the end lessens my choices. Once DirectV has the monopoly what's to keep them from jacking the price up on us because they aren't making the profit they'd like to? It'll happen IMO and I don't intend to help them.

Dear mlb:

EI is Direct-TV exclusively now? What a pity. I was looking forward to becoming a first time subscriber this season. Won't be forced to change, though. Not only that, I don't want any part of mlb-tv or audio this season, either.

I followed the game for a long time with just the nightly news and box scores.

You make it hard to WANT to be a fan.

Sincerely,
SandyD
350 miles from the nearest mlb ball park.
800+ miles from my favorite team's.

<note: I won't last. I'll probably have an mlb-tv subscription by Opening Day.>

pedro
02-15-2007, 11:02 PM
Dear mlb:

EI is Direct-TV exclusively now? What a pity. I was looking forward to becoming a first time subscriber this season. Won't be forced to change, though. Not only that, I don't want any part of mlb-tv or audio this season, either.

I followed the game for a long time with just the nightly news and box scores.

You make it hard to WANT to be a fan.

Sincerely,
SandyD
350 miles from the nearest mlb ball park.
800+ miles from my favorite team's.

<note: I won't last. I'll probably have an mlb-tv subscription by Opening Day.>

:)

Chip R
02-16-2007, 12:55 AM
Bud was on Mike and Mike Thursday morning and he said it wasn't a done deal yet but he sure talked like it will be soon.

Caveat Emperor
02-16-2007, 01:10 AM
Actually, the lesson you also learn once you are in the practice of law: Get a retainer before you provide legal services!;)

Words like these ("retainer" and "billable") make me really enjoy the simple pleasures practicing as a government attorney provides.

:thumbup:

pedro
02-16-2007, 01:35 AM
Words like these ("retainer" and "billable") make me really enjoy the simple pleasures practicing as a government attorney provides.

:thumbup:

Obviously you've never experienced the pure joy of being required to engage the services of multiple lawyers concurrently. :)

membengal
02-16-2007, 11:34 AM
Bud was on Mike and Mike Thursday morning and he said it wasn't a done deal yet but he sure talked like it will be soon.

Did either of the Mikes have the cojones to voice the objections a large percentage of people have to this and get Seligs' slimy response?

Chip R
02-16-2007, 11:55 AM
Did either of the Mikes have the cojones to voice the objections a large percentage of people have to this and get Seligs' slimy response?


Greeny was the only Mike on there yesterday and I believe he did mention that there were some objections to it but Bud basically brushed them aside.

RFS62
02-16-2007, 03:55 PM
Greeny was the only Mike on there yesterday and I believe he did mention that there were some objections to it but Bud basically brushed them aside.


Let them eat cake.