MLB and Fantasy Leagues

An issue that has been brewing is the ownership of MLB stats.   The MLB organization, interested in turning a higher profit margin, wants to require companies that host larger fantasy baseball leagues (read: Yahoo, etc) to license their leagues with MLB.  Of course, the licensing won’t be cheap. 

The trial over this issue will be held September 1.  The plantiff is a St Louis firm, CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc.  My guess is that MLB didn’t want to pick on someone too big.

Ben Kabak, in his article, MLB Fight Over Fantasy Leagues Misguided does his best to make the case for the fantasy league firms (and fantasy league players, I suppose).  It’s a good argument and I agree with it but unfortunately, I doubt it will convince the suits at MLB.

Kabak says in part:

As Schwarz notes in his article, more than 15 million people play fantasy baseball and spend a considerable amount of money on it. While Major League Baseball would like to capture this revenue – a figure Schwarz pegs at $1.5 billion annually – the game is missing the point.

If a typical fantasy player is like me or my friends, intent on paying attention to baseball and to their fantasy team, then joining a fantasy league creates a more involved fan. I know plenty of people who have become bigger fans through fantasy leagues. They pay closer attention to all of the games not just those of their favorite teams. I know people who have purchased the MLB.tv package to keep up with their fantasy teams. I know people who watch more games and attend more games because they got hooked on fantasy baseball.

Well put.  It’s seems to be the question of the golden goose.  And MLB is ready to get the hatchet.

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