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Giving competition a sporting chance? The role for antitrust laws in promoting competition from new sporting leagues in Australia and the United States

Danielle Wood
(2015) 43 Australian Business Law Review 206



Professional team sports in both Australia and the United States all have a single league at the apex of each sport. While rival leagues have emerged from time to time, they have either failed or merged with the incumbent league. Exclusionary strategies by the incumbent leagues and/or the acquisitions of their fledgling challengers do not always appear to have been viewed as critically by courts and competition authorities as similar conduct would in other industries. This appears to reflect the explicit or implicit judgement that sports are a special case. This article explores the arguments commonly advanced for maintaining the monopoly position of premier sporting leagues. It argues that none are ultimately compelling and, indeed, that competing leagues are likely to bring considerable benefits for both fans and players. It suggests that, at a minimum, competition laws should be vigorously enforced to protect competition provided by new leagues in the future.



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