UCLA Entertainment Law Review
Out at Home: Why the Major League Baseball Advanced Media Agreement May Violate Antitrust Law
- Author(s): Schoenvogel, Sally E.
- et al.
Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM or BAM) has
created one of the most successful technology platforms for broadcasting
professional baseball games online. BAM is extremely profitable,
but its exclusive online broadcast of professional baseball games
through MLB.tv may violate antitrust law. Conventional wisdom may
suggest MLBAM would be exempt from antitrust law under the judicially
created baseball exemption, but the online broadcast of professional
baseball games likely does not fall under the baseball exemption.
Therefore, an antitrust suit could be brought against BAM for its
online broadcasts. In an antitrust suit, BAM would not be considered a
single entity because of its similarities to NFL Properties in American
Needle. BAM's MLB. tv product significantly restrains trade in a relevant
market. BAM, however, will likely prevail in arguing that maintaining
competitive balance amongst its teams is a procompetitive justification.
Less restrictive alternatives exist, however, that may yet put
BAM in violation of antitrust law.