Major League Baseball Continues To Tilt At Windmills; Insisting It Owns Facts
from the don't-know-when-to-stop dept
It really is fascinating to see how ridiculously clueless Major League Baseball is when it comes to promoting the sport. It has, consistently, focused on short term gain at the expense of fans. It’s a strategy that works only if you think that your fan base isn’t going anywhere. That may be true for older fans, but new fans have many different choices in sports to pay attention to — and consistently making life difficult will mean a smaller and smaller audience. Last month, MLB trotted falsely claimed that using a Slingbox to watch content that you had legally paid for was illegal. It’s not. This week, MLB is back in court to argue that it owns the facts associated with a game, including things like player names. They’re appealing the case they lost last year, claiming that any online fantasy league needs to pay Major League Baseball for the privilege of promoting the sport.
Fantasy baseball has been a huge boost to Major League Baseball. It’s helped increase interest in the game — and especially increased interest in players outside of one’s hometown team. That means more watching of games (more commercial money), more attending games (more ticket and food money) and more purchasing of clothing and apparel. It also keeps fans who would otherwise stop being interested from going away (especially if a favorite team is out of the running). It’s been hugely successful. However, the top brass at MLB, rather than recognizing the promotional benefit of all this and how it’s helped them tremendously, insist that all of these fantasy leagues need to pay up for using the names and stats of real players. They claim that it’s the same thing as getting a famous person to endorse your product, though any moron in a hurry knows the difference between a fantasy league and a player endorsing the product. Luckily, it sounds like the Appeals Court judges are leaning towards affirming the decision, noting that: “MLB is like a public religion. Everyone knows (the players’) names and what they look like. This is just part of being an American, isn’t it?”