I just read a column Drew Brees wrote for this morning's Washington Post. The column relates to the anti-trust case involving the NFL, which case is about to be heard by the Supreme Court. Brees is a bright guy, and the column reflects his intelligence. The case relates to competition, or lack thereof, in the NFL's agreement to have single suppliers of equipment and the like. The case will have a profound impact on all professional sports in the US.
Drew Brees weighs in on NFL Supreme Court Case
Interesting stuff, if the deal between the NFL and Reebok does violate anti-trust laws then maybe i will be able to afford some NFL merchandise.
This is what I wrote about for my student note for Law Review. It's pretty interesting stuff. Basically, the NFL is trying to claim that the separate teams are really one company (NFL) for the purposes of marketing merchandise, TV rights, etc. In my opinion, and this is what I wrote, they are 32 separately owned businesses that do not always share one vision and one goal and to grant them single entity status would be a very dangerous precedent not to mention being dangerous for sports in general. Being exempt from Section 1 of the anti trust laws would be a big deal for sports leagues and they could get away with a lot more anti-competitive behavior and it could potentially have a very negative impact on sports as we know it.
As I thought when I read the thread, Brees' column isn't really about Reebok but about the upcoming negotiations. If the NFL continues to be treated as a single entity instead of as teams in competition with each other, they can get away with even more than they already have.
For example, the NFL is the only major league that doesn't have truly guaranteed contracts. If a player signs a five year contract, he can be cut after two or three, and the team is only "out" the bonus it paid. So, really, all a five year contract does is give the team five years of security while giving the player no security at all.
Sadly, the agents help this structure along by encouraging players to sign a long term contract with a big bonus. The bonus makes both the player and the agent happy in the short term, with no attention being paid to the long term ramifications. I am encouraged that a few players are savvy enough to sign one-year contracts so that they can maximize their market value every year, but agents really seem to discourage this, as do, of course, the teams.
Anyway, I would like to see the anti-trust laws enforced across the board in all sports. After the NFL, the next place to go would be the BCS/NCAA.
Short term contracts have a huge downside should a player not have a great year or be injured. There is typically a portion of the long term contract which is guaranteed; the amount is often substantial. In some ways, that works to the advantage of the player. Should he have a career-ending injury in year one or two of a five year contract, he will typically be well ahead of where he would have been had he signed a single year contract. Nothing is perfect.
What is the arrangement with universities and clothing suppliers? For Michigan, Nike used to be the sole supplier, now it is Adidas (I think). I would suspect the arrangement is one of exclusivity. If that is the case, wouldn't that also be anti-competitive? Away from sports, universities work similar arrangement with soft drink suppliers, often with substantial dollars in contributions involved. Also anti-competitive it would seem.
Then there is the BCS.
This is totally unrelated to what Michigan does. Just like the airlines aren't allowed to set prices together, the lawsuit is alleging that, since they are multiple entities, the NFL teams aren't allowed to negotiate together and choose one supplier.
Individual entities like the university are always allowed to negotiate contracts like this. What the NFL is doing (if you take the opposing viewpoint) is as if the NCAA said "we've negotiated with Nike and all NCAA schools use Nike gear."
Hopefully if this goes American Needle's way it would blow up their EA Sports deal as well, then maybe there would be a football game worth buying. Would that happen? Or would a ruling in American Needle's favor just affect the Reebok deal?
It wouldn't affect Madden. Madden gets their license from the players association because they need the players names, it really has nothing to do with the league. It would affect a lot of other deals though that are directly with the league.
You know, I really fucking hate what The Washington Post has become. It and the NYT were once the two pillars of print journalism in the country, if not the world, and it has died such a fucking ugly death that it just makes me furious. Business section: gone. Book World: gone. Health and Technology are now one section. And as of November, every last domestic bureau is closed. Unique and insightful articles like this are but a shadow of what the Post used to deliver on a daily basis.
It pisses me off, man.
The way things are going with print journalism, be happy that any papers exist. The long term prognosis is very ugly.
People on here actually care about the wholesale hacking-to-death that has happened to the national papers' book review sections.
The biggest problem that I see is that while some blogs (hi, MGoBrian!) fulfill a niche need, others subsist largely by commenting on and expanding upon the output of traditional media. I worry about us not having reporters to go out in the field and dig up the stories that then circulate on the Internet.
My home paper, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, is an amalgam of two papers that existed concurrently until the early-mid 1990s. Now, a city that once could sustain two thoughtful, well-written papers has one thin little wisp of a paper. They run some great series, but readership is dying.
It's a race to see which will be the first major American city without a daily paper.
is the Bob Dylan of the NFL. Plus it is amazingly fun to say his name in a Bob Dylan voice
Drew's mom is a very accomplished attorney from Austin. Not only is Drew a bright guy in his own right, I am not surprised that he would be reasonably informed about anti-trust issues (for a layman).
... Drew's mommy did his homework for him? ;-]
Nice to see the product of a Big 10 degree; some thoughtful analysis there.