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View Full Version : What happens if the Anti-trust exemption is removed?


illinibk
03-18-2005, 12:09 PM
I know this threat has been thrown around a little bit, but really what difference would that make? Baseball is a very expensive industry to enter. Really, how could a second or third league come about? With the costs of stadiums and players (among other things), it would be nearly impossible to have a second league that is as entertaining as MLB. How could they attract players? Players are ultimately better off in the MLBPA, so why would they go to a different league? That is, unless a new league would just go after the marginal players, and pay them significantly more than they make now. To me, this seems like an empty threat. Stadiums sit at half capacity now, what would they be like if a second or third league were created? Because of this, I don't see MLB doing anything to strengthen their steroid policy. Though I guess, if the anti-trust exemption is revolked, MLB might have lost quite a bit of goodwill, and fans may be more willing to check out other products.

What are your thoughts on this?

Paulwny
03-18-2005, 12:25 PM
I know this threat has been thrown around a little bit, but really what difference would that make? Baseball is a very expensive industry to enter. Really, how could a second or third league come about? With the costs of stadiums and players (among other things), it would be nearly impossible to have a second league that is as entertaining as MLB. How could they attract players? Players are ultimately better off in the MLBPA, so why would they go to a different league? That is, unless a new league would just go after the marginal players, and pay them significantly more than they make now. To me, this seems like an empty threat. Stadiums sit at half capacity now, what would they be like if a second or third league were created? Because of this, I don't see MLB doing anything to strengthen their steroid policy. Though I guess, if the anti-trust exemption is revolked, MLB might have lost quite a bit of goodwill, and fans may be more willing to check out other products.

What are your thoughts on this?

One negative, an owner would'nt need approval from the rest of the owners to move a team.

PaleHoseGeorge
03-18-2005, 12:31 PM
One negative, an owner would'nt need approval from the rest of the owners to move a team.

Like Montreal, for example?

:wink:

mikehuff
03-18-2005, 12:54 PM
I heard it also effects the process of getting public money to fund stadiums. I think that is the big problem. No one really considers a new baseball league to pop up and steal all the MLB stars, but the public money thing has something to do with it.

I'm sure there are plenty of other money issues that are involved as well.

Ol' No. 2
03-18-2005, 01:42 PM
I heard it also effects the process of getting public money to fund stadiums. I think that is the big problem. No one really considers a new baseball league to pop up and steal all the MLB stars, but the public money thing has something to do with it.

I'm sure there are plenty of other money issues that are involved as well.The NFL doesn't have an anti-trust exemption, and they get publicly financed stadia built.

Daver
03-18-2005, 01:47 PM
Doug Pappas wrote an article for BP several years ago detailing the effects it would have, one of them would be the end of the minor league system as we know it, and it would also affect the way the MLB draft is conducted. Basically teams would have no rights to players that are not on their forty man rosters. If I have some time later I'll try and find the link to the article.

Ol' No. 2
03-18-2005, 01:53 PM
This is not an all-or-nothing proposition. The exemption could be modified to still allow minor league systems and some other parts that are deemed desirable and not parts that are deemed undesirable. Of course that's where the argument starts. Which parts are desirable and which are undesirable? IMO, once you open that can of worms you'll regret it.

tebman
03-18-2005, 01:54 PM
I heard it also affects the process of getting public money to fund stadiums. I think that is the big problem. No one really considers a new baseball league to pop up and steal all the MLB stars, but the public money thing has something to do with it.

I'm sure there are plenty of other money issues that are involved as well.

IANAL, nor do I play one on TV, but my understanding is that the main benefit that MLB gets from the antitrust exemption is the ability to declare exclusive territories and prevent other competition. So if you and I wanted to start a professional baseball club in Chicago, MLB could, if it chose to, come down on us and stop us (or harass us) without fear of antitrust prosecution.

The whole framework of MLB is built on that assumption, so without it all bets are off. There would be rolling seas of confusion if MLB lost its exemption, at least for a few years. For instance, what would prevent Microsoft or WalMart from starting a competing league? They've got the money and it would be a terrific PR move for them. NBC put together the XFL a few years ago -- it was a flop, but it was a cause for concern for the NFL while it was up.

It would be a shame to see that happen, but maybe that's what it'll take to get this cleaned up.

- tebman

PaleHoseGeorge
03-18-2005, 01:59 PM
Daver is right. The biggest change would be the elimination of the minor league affiliations as we currently know them.

I'm quite certain baseball fans in major markets like Portland, Charlotte, New Orleans, Vancouver, Salt Lake, Memphis, Indianapolis, and many others would be just fine ending their affiliation with "minor" league baseball.
:cool:

It's nearly a sure bet cities like NYC, LA, and Chicago would pick up one or more major league clubs, too. Teams in Schaumburg, Geneva, and Gary are already drawing well over 1 million fans.

Competition is good. I'm all for ending MLB's anti-trust exemption.

Ol' No. 2
03-18-2005, 02:01 PM
IANAL, nor do I play one on TV, but my understanding is that the main benefit that MLB gets from the antitrust exemption is the ability to declare exclusive territories and prevent other competition. So if you and I wanted to start a professional baseball club in Chicago, MLB could, if it chose to, come down on us and stop us (or harass us) without fear of antitrust prosecution.

The whole framework of MLB is built on that assumption, so without it all bets are off. There would be rolling seas of confusion if MLB lost its exemption, at least for a few years. For instance, what would prevent Microsoft or WalMart from starting a competing league? They've got the money and it would be a terrific PR move for them. NBC put together the XFL a few years ago -- it was a flop, but it was a cause for concern for the NFL while it was up.

It would be a shame to see that happen, but maybe that's what it'll take to get this cleaned up.

- tebmanStarting up a rival league was difficult a century ago when things were much cheaper. It would be an almost impossible task today. Baseball has nothing to worry about on that score. But I doubt very much that MLB would get away with using their exemption to directly interfere with a rival league if one should start up.

The main use of the exemption was in enforcing the reserve clause, which could never have been enforced otherwise. But with the CBA, that's no longer an issue.

Daver
03-18-2005, 02:06 PM
The main use of the exemption was in enforcing the reserve clause, which could never have been enforced otherwise. But with the CBA, that's no longer an issue.

The reserve clause is what allows MLB to have it's minor league affiliations as they are now, so it would affect the hundreds of players playing below the MLB level.

tebman
03-18-2005, 02:15 PM
Starting up a rival league was difficult a century ago when things were much cheaper. It would be an almost impossible task today. Baseball has nothing to worry about on that score. But I doubt very much that MLB would get away with using their exemption to directly interfere with a rival league if one should start up.

The main use of the exemption was in enforcing the reserve clause, which could never have been enforced otherwise. But with the CBA, that's no longer an issue.
To be sure, it would be tough to start a competing league just like it was for the Federal League a hundred years ago. But if a promoter (Fox?) thought that there'd be money to be made with a TV-centric new league, it might happen. Lifting the exemption would remove any remaining claim MLB has on its exclusivity.

But the confusion would remain: contract negotiations, player trades, revenue-sharing, minor-league affiliations, etc., etc.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!"
Sir Walter Scott

- tebman

Ol' No. 2
03-18-2005, 02:20 PM
To be sure, it would be tough to start a competing league just like it was for the Federal League a hundred years ago. But if a promoter (Fox?) thought that there'd be money to be made with a TV-centric new league, it might happen. Lifting the exemption would remove any remaining claim MLB has on its exclusivity.

But the confusion would remain: contract negotiations, player trades, revenue-sharing, minor-league affiliations, etc., etc.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!"
Sir Walter Scott

- tebmanThe exemption doesn't give MLB any claim to exclusivity. If someone wanted to start up a new league, MLB couldn't stop them. The most they could do would be to pressure TV networks not to air the new league. In their usual ham-fisted way, I'm sure MLB would screw that up, they'd get sued and lose.

tebman
03-18-2005, 02:26 PM
The exemption doesn't give MLB any claim to exclusivity. If someone wanted to start up a new league, MLB couldn't stop them. The most they could do would be to pressure TV networks not to air the new league. In their usual ham-fisted way, I'm sure MLB would screw that up, they'd get sued and lose.

Yep! MLB screwing it up is one thing we can always count on! :tongue:

:tool "Ham-fisted? I have the hands of a surgeon!"


- tebman

mikehuff
03-18-2005, 02:27 PM
The NFL doesn't have an anti-trust exemption, and they get publicly financed stadia built.

Yeah, that makes sense. I don't know what they actually said, but I did hear something about public funding to the stadiums.

MisterB
03-18-2005, 04:03 PM
Doug Pappas wrote an article for BP several years ago detailing the effects it would have, one of them would be the end of the minor league system as we know it, and it would also affect the way the MLB draft is conducted. Basically teams would have no rights to players that are not on their forty man rosters. If I have some time later I'll try and find the link to the article.

Here it is: Ending Baseball's Antitrust Exemption (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1286)

Daver
03-18-2005, 04:07 PM
Here it is: Ending Baseball's Antitrust Exemption (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1286)

Apparently I was mistaken, I thought Doug Pappas wrote it.

Thanx.

illinibk
03-18-2005, 04:15 PM
Here it is: Ending Baseball's Antitrust Exemption (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1286)
Thats a good read. Thanks for the link.