Grow: The impending battle over the future of televised baseball

From SABR member Nathaniel Grow at FanGraphs on January 11, 2016:

Next week, in a federal courtroom in New York City, the future of televised baseball will be at stake. On one side, attorneys representing baseball fans at-large will contend that MLB’s existing broadcast policies violate the Sherman Antitrust Act by illegally limiting competition and consumer choice, ultimately increasing the price we pay for televised baseball. On the other side, lawyers for Major League Baseball will seek to preserve the status quo by arguing that the league’s restrictions increase both the quantity and quality of games aired on television, to the benefit of fans.

The case — Garber v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — may not be the highest-profile lawsuit currently proceeding against MLB. But from the league’s perspective, it’s almost certainly the most important.

Long-time Fangraphs readers are probably already familiar with the Garber suit, as we’ve previously covered the case on a number of different occasions. By way of a brief recap, though, the lawsuit essentially alleges that MLB violates federal antitrust law by assigning its teams exclusive local broadcast territories (the same rules that also give rise to MLB’s infamous blackout policy).

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Originally published: January 12, 2016. Last Updated: January 12, 2016.