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Sports Law
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Grossman, Randy M.

Sports Law
Prof. Randy Grossman
Spring 2010

A. What is a sport?
a. Any athletic skill or competition that is not part of regular daily activities that people, machines, or animals participate in for exhibition or that has a fan base
b. Some factors to look at when deciding whether it is a sport:
i. Rules; competition; procedures; practice; physicality; recreation; fans; opposition; equipment; winners and losers; skill; intent; athletes; effort; training
ii. Judged on skills acquired and the execution of those skills.
B. What is a Professional?
a. Someone who gets paid for what they do
b. Winnings could be used as a possible source of income
A. Tickets – a revocable license to sit in a particular seat during a particular game.
a. Season Tickets
i. Only and expectation of an offer to renew season tickets, not a right.
ii. The season ticket holder can’t claim property of that seat forever or until they decide otherwise, because it’s revocable at any time.
iii. Event holder can deny anybody entry.
iv. Season tickets are only a license to purchase the tickets.
v. Personal Seat License – PSL – you must get this before you can get a season ticket. It’s a 1-time fee. You can sell your licenses when you don’t want it anymore. Premium/choice seats. Guarantees seat for as long as you want season tickets.
vi. If tickets acquired after marriage, it doesn’t matter whose name the tickets are in, they belong to both.
vii. No anti-competitive effect about selling season tickets with the requirement that a fan must purchase exhibitions game.
b. Terms and Conditions
i. Ticket provisions are upheld if:
1. Reasonably designed,
2. Conspicuously noticed, and
3. Uniformly applied
c. Prices
i. Sherman Act – designed to prevent business arrangements that restrain competition & drive up prices
d. Refunds
i. Castillo v. Tyson à fight ended early.
1. Court said absent intentional or negligent acts to withhold the fight from the viewer, they would not be able to recover.
2. Show doesn’t live up to the billing
3. You get what you pay for
4. Spectators are not entitled to any particular type of fight, game, etc.
ii. Viewers would have a case when they do not get what they pay for
1. For instance, when a contest does not finish
2. They pay to see the contest, game, event through to the end with a reasonable expectation that contest would finish and the game, contest, event does not finish
3. The argument would be that the event coordinator did not live up to their side of the contract, which was to provide the event in full
a. This is only the case if the event coordinator does not have terms and conditions to the contrary. Assuming these terms are reasonable, conspicuously noticed, and uniformly applied
4. This is sort of like getting tickets to the makeup game for a rainout
5. Viewers have less of a case if the event is just cut short and not cancelled altogether
a. For instance a game called after 5 innings…technically see a complete baseball game
6. If fans are not getting what they paid (for example a whole team of amateurs play during a pro game) then they will get their money back.
e. Scalpers
i. Ticket scalping is illegal in California
1. A ticket has been illegally scalped when it has been sold for over face value
ii. Ticket brokers sales are not illegal because they obtain licenses and pay fees in order to sell tickets for more than face value.
iii. Regulating ticket sales is a legitimate police power within states
iv. Counterfeit tickets are always illegal
B. Stadiums
a. Construction
i. Arguments it should be privately financed
1. It’s a private enterprise (owned by individual or corporation)
2. It’s very expensive and most municipalities do not have much money
3. Owners already have lots of money, we shouldn’t build for them
4. Can give them special tax breaks, etc.
ii. Arguments for publicly funded stadium
1. Creates jobs to build the stadium
2. Vendors will get employed there
3. Helps the community around the stadium thrive
4. Helps t

satellite TV. If you have the “ticket” they can’t black it out.
b. Sports Broadcasting Act – gives rights to broadcast games wherever they want
i. Exempts sponsored television from anti-trust laws
ii. Sponsored TV Network generates funds by selling advertisements
D. Collectibles
a. If there are no rules that would resolve the property question, must look to ownership
i. Bylaws may state things such as all foul balls hit are for the fans or all footballs thrown or kicked into the stand must be returned and are the property of the NFL
ii. Was the act voluntary?
1. You typically cannot lose ownership with an involuntary act
2. If a player were to give a ball away, for instance, this would be a voluntary act and it is less likely that player still owns the ball
3. If a player were to have a ball knocked out of his hands into a fan’s hands, it is more likely that the player maintains ownership
4. Also, if you discard something and do not intend to keep it, you lose ownership in it
iii. The entity that runs the contest, event, etc. may also claim a property right
b. Authenticity (for example MLB has a sticker).
i. When you’re a dealer you have specialized knowledge & should know you’re buying a fake.
A. Admission
a. Court rejected contention of monopolistic practices because a dominant seller (The NFL) has no duty to admit a competitor to its ranks
i. Lack of football team here does not affect choices of general public
b. If an owner is lied to by the league he should do due diligence to figure things out.
c. A league of private owners has no duty to admit a member of a rival league.