Chicago Cubs Defeat Antitrust Lawsuit Based On Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption

Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : October 12, 2017

In Right Field Rooftops, LLC v. Chicago Cubs Baseball Club, LLC,  No. 16-3582, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16847 (7th Cir. Sept. 1, 2017), the Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of monopolization (and attempted monopolization) claims against the Chicago Cubs based on professional baseball’s antitrust exemption.  Plaintiffs-appellants were owners of two buildings that sold tickets to view Cubs’ games from their roofs.  In support of their monopolization claim, the rooftop owners alleged, among other things, that the Cubs “attempt[ed] to set a minimum ticket price, purchas[ed] rooftops, threaten[ed] to block rooftops with signage that did not sell to the Cubs and beg[an] construction at Wrigley Field” that would obstruct views from rooftops.  Id. at *13-14.  The Seventh Circuit found that these allegations fell within baseball’s antitrust exemption because they part of the “business of baseball.”.   In doing so, the Seventh Circuit followed the U.S. Supreme Court precedent in which the Supreme Court long ago held “that the Sherman Act had no application to the ‘business of giving exhibitions [of] business of base ball’ . . .”  (Id. at *12, quoting Toolson v. New York Yankees, Inc., 346 U.S. 356, 357 (1953), followed by Flood v. Kuhn, 407 U.S. 258 (1972)).

As discussed in the previous post, it remains curious that baseball is the only sport that has an antitrust exemption.

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