Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Competition not Kerry

Late last week I read this article in USA Today, "Baseball's proposed partnership with DirecTV would shout out many," which focused on US Senator John Kerry's (Democrat-Massachusetts) call for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to "investigate the proposed $700 million, seven year deal that would shift DirectTV's 'Extra Innings' package this season" -- this shift of Major League Baseball's (MLB) games to DirecTV would be EXCLUSIVE so if baseball fans want to continue watching "Extra Innings" they would have to become DirecTV customers.

Common sense time -- instead of calling on the FCC to investigate this market decision Senator Kerry should file legislation to eliminate the anti-trust exemption that MLB enjoys today:

Q: What is the antitrust exemption and how did baseball get it?
A: Any business that operates across state borders -- and therefore participates in interstate commerce -- is subject to antitrust legislation. Attempts to control trade and monopolize may be deemed illegal by federal circuit courts under the Sherman and Clayton acts.
Baseball has been exempt from these antitrust laws since 1922, when the Supreme Court ruled in its favor in Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore, Inc. v. National Baseball Clubs.

Remove this anti-trust exemption and let the market (baseball fans) decide what teams should exist and in which markets by opening the baseball market to upstart leagues. Perhaps the American Association (home of the St. Paul Saints of Minnesota) would then expand to challenge the incumbent MLB teams.

Now that is a homerun,


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