Jump to content
Brewer Fanatic

MLB & Players Union lose battle w/ Fantasy Industry


lcbj68c

An interesting article in today's MJS business section illustrated that the US Supreme Court refuses to re-hear a lawsuit from the MLB Players Union, which was seeking to stop the Fantasy Baseball industry from using players names and statistics. Apparently, the MLB attempted to make money off of the fantasy industry and only allow certain mega players in the industry to conduct Fantasy games, such as Yahoo and ESPN. It attemped to block the ability of smaller companies to operate using player's names, presumably because they wouldnt be able to get a slice of the pie. I've never seen this discussed here, but I reckon the majority of the general public and baseball fans agree with the US Supreme Court? I'd love to generate some discussion, possibly on both sides if somebody doesn't agree with the US Supreme Court. Specifically over this fact. Fantasy sports site companies argued that fantasy sports sites merely were using names and statistics of players the same way that newspapers and other media outlets do. MLB argued that the fantasy sites were using the names of athletes in the manner of a consumer product.

 

While I am a baseball fantasy player, I do agree with the MLB. While I dont know how to regulate them getting a slice of the pie, the notion that the fantasy sites do not acurately tell the story that they are making a buck off of what these players do is an outright lie. However, Newspapers and media outlets profit as well as I know I specifically have a newspaper subscription to see what the players have done as well. Anybody else got a take on this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

The fact that the statistics can be attained by observing the games...makes me think that the MLB has no leg to stand on...

 

if you and I were going to have a contest to see which player in a game had the most balls hit to him during a game...We could simply observe the game and decide who the winner was...if this case were given to MLB, then MLB would deserve a slice of that side wager while we attended the game....

 

The statistics are public information and people can use them as they please in my opinion...Early fantasy games were done, by compiling statistics form box scores and stats from newspapers...computers made it easier and websites simply made it user friendly...They are not selling MLB statistics, they are selling ease of use and ease of play....The statistics are already available for free in many ways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with you blindcheck in some regard, but I also have this comparison for you to consider. Say for example, I own an apartment complex. As a "service" to my tenants, I provide WI-FI internet access "included" in their rent. In all reality, I've raised rent prices $5.00/month to accomedate for my cost in providing the service. It just happens that a smaller house adjacent to my property has the ability to receive the signal and therefore gets my "free" internet as well. (For the sake of argument, let's say that I'm computer illiterrate and made the connection unsecure). I finally discover that this smaller house is using my internet service, but I want them to pay for it. Given your reply above, The smaller house or business could therefore argue that since internet can be made freely available from other sources (library, mall, etc), that I dont have the right to control my signal?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whether it is right or wrong, legal or illegal, at what point does the players union begin to value operations that promote their business? I understand that there are companies that are profiting off of the fantasy baseball operations but doesn't the union realize that by only allowing certain companies to offer fantasy baseball, the cost can easily be pushed onto the ultimate end user ....the fan.

 

In my opinion, things like this do nothing but alienate the fans that made the business successful in the first place. I know that we are a long ways away, but it is things like this that could lead to baseball's ultimate demise. Professional sports are changing and the trend of squeezing every dollar possible from the fan is going to hit a tipping point. Examples of this are:

 

- Baseball games moving from being broadcasted over the air to cable networks

- Ticket prices that rise in correlation with absurd player salaries

 

Before too long, games are only going be broadcast on networks that require subscriptions. These things coupled with other trends such as cities funding the construction of baseball stadiums are going to begin rubbing fans the wrong way if they are not already. For the first time this last weekend, the Brewers really rubbed me the wrong way. My friends and I decided to attend a Brewer game and were charged $17 for standing room only! Add the $4 convenience fee for online ticket purchase and we all paid $21 to stand and watch a team that, at the time, could only be described as an underachieving baseball team that has failed to reach the playoffs in over a decade and a half. When I realized that I have been supporting the team this entire time, for the first time in my life, I felt like a "Sucker" for going to a baseball game.

 

People may think I am going overboard but I do not think so. This is exactly what happened to boxing. It went from being one of the top sports in the nation to dropping into the faded background of the sports world. When boxing was on top, matches could be viewed over the air by all who wanted to watch. Many feel that the transition to Pay-Per-View led to boxing's downfall and opened the door to competition such as UFC and MMA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's a great decision. I'm an avid sports fan and fantasy player. If I didn't have a wager or the starter in my tied fantasy game, I can't even watch Monday Night Football or any other sporting event. Without some type, no matter how small, of a rooting intrest I can't watch a sporting event. I understand that MLB wants to maximize it's revenue, but back in 2005 Fanball.com hosted our fantasybaseball league for free. Then "the judgement" came down, and we had to pay cbsportsline.com like $160 for the same service the following season. Isn't that a type of monopoly?

 

I believe the legal argument used was that once a player makes a hit or out, it not only becomes a stat, but a historical fact. I guess the Supreme Court says you can't own a historical fact. I think the fantasy magazines who have pictures in them and on their cover should be paying someone for the that, but I never bought a fantasy magazine because of who was on the cover, but the analysis and predictions of what's inside. If MLB would have won, you know for a fact the NFL, NBA would be doing the same thing.

 

Not to get off topic, but why would someone feel ripped off for buying standing room only, when there are 80+ other home games you can buy tickets too. For $1 more and some foresight you could have sat field level in the bleachers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not to get off topic, but why would someone feel ripped off for buying standing room only, when there are 80+ other home games you can buy tickets too. For $1 more and some foresight you could have sat field level in the bleachers.
I guess what bothers me is what things are coming to. Without even getting into how furious having to pay a $4 per ticket convenience fee for purchasing tickets online makes me, it just seems wrong that I have to pay $21 to find a place to stand in Miller Park. It's the issues that are driving the price that are the problem to me, not so much the location of the ticket. It bothers me that regular ticket prices, which I think are far too high to begin with, are increased each year. Things just seem to be imbalanced and I feel like we, the fan, are being sqeezed for every penny that we have so players like Eric Gagne can get paid $10MM a year to play a game. I am not trying to whine and I understand that it is my choice as to whether I attend games or not. My point is that I am getting very close to drawing a line where I will no longer attend games. I don't care if I am getting $14 dollar bleacher tickets, if players like Gagne are making $10MM per year, I am paying too much and I can't help but to feel like a sucker. I believe that a small amount of people are getting far too much benefit from my hard earned dollars and I am not getting enough. I certainly can't be alone with these feelings and believe that if things continue to trend the way they are, more and more fans are going to become turned off. Major League Baseball, in my mind, is reaching the point where it is beginning to alienate the fan base that has made it what it is today and that can be dangerous. As I mentioned in my earlier post, look at what happened to boxing.

 

When I couple this with other issues such as cities (us) funding stadiums, I become even more turned off. We have organizations that pay employees millions of dollars that are operating with artificially low overhead costs. I know this is a whole different discussion, but if the Brewers have the financial resources to support an $80MM payroll, they should have the resources to finance a $400MM stadium ..and this goes for all professional sports teams.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back to the issue at hand, I can see both sides, but I think historical fact wins out. The information is readily available in any number of ways. For instance, anyone can keep score. I can see why MLB and the players went to court, though. Sometimes, to protect one's interests, it's deemed necessary to go that route.

 

I wouldn't have a problem if baseball decided to charge for stats under different conditions, though. If MLB and the union want to bundle up their web site data in disk format, for instance, I'd be fine with that. And as we get into more pitch tracking and computerized defensive stats, there could easily be something unique that could be made available that couldn't be gotten otherwise.

 

Basic data, stats that can be gleaned from that data, and player names? That information should be free to use.

That’s the only thing Chicago’s good for: to tell people where Wisconsin is.

[align=right]-- Sigmund Snopek[/align]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Say for example, I own an apartment complex. As a "service" to my tenants, I provide WI-FI internet access "included" in their rent... It just happens that a smaller house adjacent to my property has the ability to receive the signal and therefore gets my "free" internet as well.... The smaller house or business could therefore argue that since internet can be made freely available from other sources (library, mall, etc), that I dont have the right to control my signal?
Well in your example, you can turn off the signal to stop the use by the neighbor...perfectly fine...Baseball could do this as well, They can quit playing games or quit allowing fans to follow baseball by not allowing them to come to the park and taking it off of TV and Radio.

 

That would shut off the use of their statistics....

 

Baseball does not have to provide the service of Baseball to anyone, just as you don't have to provide internet to those that are not paying, but for baseball to do this, they have to quit playing the game since it would be impossible to play it without people observing the game and keeping stats.

 

 

(pared back long quote -1992)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the MLB and Players Union needs to acknowledge that Fantasy Baseball is at least partly responsible for the increasing interest in the game, and, more importantly, on the Cult of Personality that surrounds players these days.

 

Sure, there have always been superstars, but IMO many many more guys get recognized (and paid well) than previously because of the Fantasy Industry keeping people updated on their progress.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the MLB and Players Union needs to acknowledge that Fantasy Baseball is at least partly responsible for the increasing interest in the game, and, more importantly, on the Cult of Personality that surrounds players these days.

 

Sure, there have always been superstars, but IMO many many more guys get recognized (and paid well) than previously because of the Fantasy Industry keeping people updated on their progress.

I get that and I do agree. The problem is not whether Fantasy baseball is good for the game, there's not doubt that it is. The question is whether MLB should have a monopoly over the players names and stats and not allow small companies to conduct fantasy leagues. Fantasy baseball will always be present for the Yahoo's and ESPN's because MLB wants them in the game, they just dont want the smaller companies conducting the business as they dont get a slice of the pie. Had the court ruled in the favor of MLB, fantasy baseball would still live, just in those few markets that MLB deems they want to sell to and allow to do business with. It wouldn't mean the end of fantasy baseball.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Brewer Fanatic Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premiere Brewers community on the internet. Included with caretaking is ad-free browsing of Brewer Fanatic.

×
×
  • Create New...