Sports data account for only a small percentage of the revenue generated by U.S. sports leagues. However, as states legalize sports betting, the demand for such data is expected to grow. How leagues choose to meet this demand may raise antitrust issues under both Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. Two data-related theories of harm concern the collective sale of data at the league level and the leveraging of monopoly power over the market for league games to the market for data generated by or about those games. An empirical analysis of the market(s) for sports data would prove valuable to a rule of reason analysis of challenged practices.

By Gregory Pelnar1

 

I. INTRODUCTION

The collection and monetization of sports data raises important antitrust issues for U.S. sports leagues.2 One concerns the centralization of data ownership at the league, rather than the club, level in possible violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Another concerns the possible leveraging of a league’s monopoly over the market for its games to the market for data related to those games in possible violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act.

In the next section, I provide some background on the sports data industry, such as the types of data collected, who collects it, and how the data are used. I then discuss data-related theories of competitive harm as applied to U.S. sports leagues.

 

II. THE SUPPLY AND DEMAND FOR SPORTS DATA

The term “s

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