Saturday, November 9, 2013

United States v. NFL case brief

United States v. NFL case brief summary
116 F.Supp 319 (1953)

Plaintiff federal government filed an action seeking an injunction against defendants, members of a professional football league, based on the league's agreement to restrict televised broadcasts of home games. The government contended that the agreement was illegal under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1 et seq.

The government filed an action against the league on the basis that its policies regarding the broadcast of home games was an illegal restraint of trade. There was no doubt that the members of the league, various football clubs, made an agreement to prevent the broadcast of home games in their home territories.

  • The court held that while this action did constitute a restraint of trade, such restraint was not always illegal. 
  • To be illegal, the court held, a contract must cause both a restraint of trade and an unreasonable restraint. 
  • The court held that the restraint in this case was reasonable in order that the league be able to ensure attendance at home games, that being the only way for the football clubs to raise sufficient revenue to survive. 
  • The court, therefore, allowed the league to prohibit television broadcasts of their home games in their own territory. 
  • The court did, however, restrict the league from disallowing television broadcasts of other teams' games and radio broadcast of all games. 
  • Therefore, the government partially prevailed on its request for an injunction.

The injunction sought by the government against the league was partially granted, although the court did allow the league to restrict television broadcasts of home games in a football club's home territory.

Suggested Study Aid For Sports Law

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