Supreme Court rules unanimously that NFL is 32 teams, not single entity
"The high court reversed a lower court ruling throwing out an antitrust suit brought against the league by one of its former hat makers, who was upset that it lost its contract for making official NFL hats to Reebok International Ltd.
- American Needle, Inc. sued, claiming the league violated antitrust law because all 32 teams worked together to freeze it out of the NFL-licensed hatmaking business and
- gave Reebok an exclusive 10-year license.
The company lost and appealed to the Supreme Court but the NFL did as well, hoping to get broader protection from antitrust lawsuits."...
- "The N.B.A. and the N.H.L., which also do not have antitrust exemptions, wrote briefs in support of the N.F.L.’s argument.
- Major League Baseball has an antitrust exemption....
- The case will now go back to district court. There, American Needle will have to prove that the N.F.L.’s deal with Reebok led to higher prices or in other ways harmed consumers. Even if American Needle wins such an argument — which could take years to achieve — there is no guarantee it can win a contract with the N.F.L.
“This isn’t necessarily a ploy to get a license, this is to protect competition and consumers and right a wrong,” said Robert Kronenberger, the president of American Needle. “Whether or not we get a license is immaterial.”"...
- Newsday article from AP, J. Holland, 5/24, "Court: NFL is 32 teams, not single business"