Steve Perry on Sports Broadcasting Act’s Antitrust Exemptions

Munger, Tolles & Olson attorney Steven Perry authored an article in the Fall 2016 edition of Competition, a journal published by the Antitrust, UCL and Privacy Section of the State Bar of California, titled “Home Run or Strikeout? The Unsettled Relationship Between the Sports Broadcasting Act and Cable Programming.”

In his article, Mr. Perry examines whether the Sports Broadcasting Act (“SBA”), which provides an antitrust exemption for league-wide agreements involving telecasts of certain professional sporting events, applies to basic cable programming. The SBA was enacted in 1961 to allow teams in four professional sports leagues to combine their individual rights in game telecasts into a single package to be sold to a television network or other purchaser without violating the antitrust laws.

Mr. Perry’s article explores both the events that led to the enactment of the SBA and the few cases since 1961 that have addressed the SBA’s application to cable programming. Mr. Perry concludes that in the 55 years since the enactment of the SBA, no court has definitively decided whether licensing agreements between sports leagues and basic cable programmers fall under the SBA’s antitrust exemptions.  Mr. Perry then applies fundamental principles of statutory interpretation to the relevant language in the SBA and concludes that the courts should hold that the SBA does exempt league-wide agreements involving basic cable programming from the antitrust laws.

To read the full article, click here.

Mr. Perry is a litigation partner in Munger Tolles’ Los Angeles office; he represents clients in a wide array of industries, including media, entertainment and sports, in complex commercial, antitrust, tort and intellectual property matters.