Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

March 5, 2009 -

A non-gaming case currently before the United States Supreme Court stands to have a massive impact on the video game industry.

The case is American Needle vs New Orleans Saints, et al. Should the Supreme Court find in favor of plaintiff American Needle, an apparel manufacturer, EA's exclusive NFL licensing deal and Take-Two's third-party exclusive with Major League Baseball could be found in violation of federal antitrust (i.e., monopoly) statutes. Such a determination would free other publishers to make games based on the NFL and MLB.

SCOTUSblog, which tracks happenings before the Supreme Court, reports on the case:

The NFL used to license American Needle to sell hats that bore the logos, the names or other insignia of pro football teams... But, in 2000, the NFL opted to solicit bids for an exclusive license to produce caps and other headwear.  Reebok won the bidding, and in 2001 got an exclusive ten-year license.  American Needle’s license was not renewed. So it sued the NFL, all of its teams, NFL Properties, and Reebok.

American Needle’s case was thrown out by lower courts... “The [Supreme] Court has stated, on more than one occasion,” American Needle asserted, “that application of the Sherman Act to professional sports teams is wholly consistent with Congressional inent...”

What happened to American Needle in relation to apparel is essentially what happened to Take-Two in regard to its excellent NFL2K series when EA scored its exclusive license with the NFL in 2004.

Attorneys for EA are clearly tracking the American Needle case. The phrase "American Needle" appears nine times in a transcript of arguments made by attorneys last November in Pecover vs. Electronic Arts, a class-action suit which alleges that consumers were hurt by EA's NFL exclusive (see: Spirited Courtroom Argument Highlights Madden Monopoly Case).

SCOTUSblog reports that the Supreme Court has requested government lawyers to weigh in on the case.


Comments

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I'm Rooting for the Exclusivity Deals to be dropped by the supreme court(That'll Teach EA and T2 a lesson for hogging the NFL and MLB)

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

This wouldn't be a good thing.

It's the same as saying that McDonalds has no right to the Big Mac.

Private Bussiness is private the last thing we need in this time is more branches of government saying what can and can't be done, and guess what this works for these industries since the NFL,EA, or Take 2 haven't asked for a bailout.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I'd love to see these exclusive deals get dissolved. Take Two has done an awful job with the MLB license on 360, and I'd love to see "The Show" come to 360. 

Bottom line is that competition creates better products. I'm all for that.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

Um, shouldn't the NFL have the right to say who can and can't use their IP?

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

Wouldn't the NFL teams, players, and logos, fall under IP? IP holders have a right to give exclusive rights to anyone they so choose.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I think the use of the players, teams and logos for the purpose of a football-themed... thing... is protected by the IP.

| XBOX LIVE GamerTag: Harry Miste | Steam ID: Harry Miste | PSN ID: HarryMiste | Needs a thesaurus. |

| XBOX LIVE GamerTag: Harry Miste | Steam ID: Harry Miste | PSN ID: HarryMiste |

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I believe it counts as IP, but EA has exclusive deals with the NFL and the NFLPA (as well as the coaches union I believe); the former for the use of the team logos, stadiums, etc. and the latter to use the names of the players.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I think the Supreme court Justices are going to make fun of the fact that EA held a monopoly on NFL games Heres the possiblility

John Roberts: We the court has found that American needle has been found in violation of the Sherman and Clayton Acts and therefore we demand that the company should be split up

EA & T2: We're F@**ED, we may have to share the license of MLB and NFL now

END TSG-esce courtroom reenactment

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

"Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony"

Hm... I guess they can make a point there. I wonder what statements those are though.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I don't think that the EA+NFL or 2K+MLB suit would work out because it's a temporary exclusive. On top of that, I belive for any anti-trust suit to pass through the product being tested must also prove to be necessary for moderen society. The previous anti-trust suits are on the following of two basis. Lack of competition+Need for modern society. With Oil there is an obvious need for that product in modern society, with phones there was a need for it in modern society, and for OS software there is a need for it in modern society. NFL and MLB does not fill this area, so I highly doubt it will go through.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

The deal before the courts involves a temporary exclusive, though.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

I'm sure there will be a counterclaim though if it doesnt pass.

Re: Supreme Court Case May Impact EA's NFL Exclusive

which means this probebly wont pass.

 
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Andrew EisenSleaker - Uh, yeah. Obviously.09/01/2014 - 8:20pm
Sleaker@AE - exclusives do not a console business make.09/01/2014 - 8:03pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that, despite the presence of a snopes article and multiple articles countering it, people are still spreading a fake news story about a "SWATter" being sentenced to X (because the number seems to keep changing) years in prison.09/01/2014 - 5:08pm
Papa MidnightAnd resulting in PC gaming continuing to be held back by developer habits09/01/2014 - 5:07pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that the current gen of consoles is representative of 2009-2010 in PC gaming, and will be the bar by which games are released over the next 8 years - resulting in more years of poor PC ports (if they're ever ported)09/01/2014 - 5:06pm
Andrew EisenMeanwhile, 6 of Wii U's top 12 are exclusive: Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8, Wonderful 101, and ZombiU. (Wind Waker HD is on the list too but I didn't count it.)09/01/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenLikewise, only two of Xbox One's top 12 are exclusive: Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome (if you ignore a PC release later this year).09/01/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenNot to disrespect the current gen of consoles but I find it telling that of the "12 Best Games For The PS4" (per Kotaku), only two are exclusive to the system: Infamous: Second Son and Resogun.09/01/2014 - 4:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/09/01/beyond-two-souls-ps4-trophies-emerge-directors-cut-reported/ MMM MMM, nothing quire like reheated last gen games to make you appreciate the 400 bucks you spent on a new console.09/01/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenThat's actually a super depressing thought, that a bunch of retweeters are taking that pic as an illustration of the actual issue instead of an example of a complete misunderstanding of it.09/01/2014 - 4:20pm
Andrew EisenObviously, the picture was created by someone who doesn't understand what the issue actually is (or, possibly, someone trying to satire said misunderstanding).09/01/2014 - 4:10pm
Papa MidnightPeople fear and attack what they do not understand.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
Papa MidnightWell, let's not forget. Someone held their hand in a peace sign a few weeks ago and people started claiming it was a gang sign. Or a police chief displayed the hand signal of their fraternity and was accused of the same.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
SleakerEither people don't understand that what the picture is saying is true, or the picture was created out of a misunderstanding of what sexism is.09/01/2014 - 3:52pm
Sleaker@AE ok yah that's where the kind of confusion I'm getting. Your tweet can be taken to mean two different things.09/01/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - No. No, not even remotely. The pic attached to my tweet was not made by me; it's not a statement I'm making. It's an illustration of the complete misunderstanding of the issue my tweet is referring to.09/01/2014 - 3:13pm
Papa MidnightIn other news, Netflix states why it paid Comcast: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/29/technology/netflix-comcast/index.html?hpt=hp_t209/01/2014 - 3:10pm
Papa MidnightAndrew Eisen: Sites like Tumblr make things seem much bigger than they are. A vocal extreme minority start complaining and things go as they do.09/01/2014 - 3:09pm
SleakerAre you trying saying that specific costumes are sexist simply by being included in the game?09/01/2014 - 3:03pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - Seems completely cut and dry to me (of course, I wrote it so that's not surprising). What about it do you find confusing?09/01/2014 - 2:25pm
 

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