Sunday, January 15, 2006

MLB Statistics Ownership And Fantasy Baseball

Last year, major league baseball decided to play hardball with internet fantasy baseball. They are forcing any internet fantasy baseball providers to pay MLB for the right to use player names and statistics. Effectively, there are no online fantasy baseball services that have not bought a licence from MLB. This killed Swirve baseball.

This position is now being challenged. CBC Marketing and Distribution of St Louis is taking MLB to court. They run CDM fantasy baseball games.

Before last year, an internet company like CBC Marketing paid 9% of their gross to the Major League Baseball Player's Association. MLB bought these rights from the MLBPA for $50 million. MLB now holds exclusive rights to license all leagues and can raise their costs to force the small players from the marketplace. Despite not having a licence, CBC continued to run their leagues.

The courts will decide if intellectual property rights give MLB the rights to do this or if baseball statistics are history and thus a piece of the public record instead of intellectual property.

A ruling against CBC Marketing is bad news for fantasy hockey players since it will serve to limit access to the number of fantasy hockey games. This is bad for fantasy players.

Here is a CNN story on this topic.

Comments:
This is such garbage. Fantasy sports only serve to draw more fans, and more rabid fans, to the game itself. Fantasy sports also make people who play pay attention to every team, not just the hometown favorite. I've gotta think that fantasy football is solely responsible for a large percentage of people buying the NFL sunday ticket package.

The sports leagues should be absolutely embracing the fantasy sports culture, as it only serves to draw fans into the game further. And by drawing fans in deeper, it only means they'll be spending more money. Completely classless, brainless, and idiotic move on baseball's part to try and monopolize it.

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