The Economics of Professional Sports League Broadcasts

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It has been nearly ten years since the Supreme Court’s American Needle decision, and one might think that sports-related antitrust litigation would have generated greater clarity for both legal and economic principles relating to professional leagues generally, and those involving the output of sports leagues, specifically. But this has not been the case. Many courts continue to struggle with myriad issues relating to professional sports collaborations: defining broadcast “output,” determining what is (and is not) a venture-level product, assessing various justifications of venture-level restraints, and constructing the proper “but-for world” under a rule of reason analysis.