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?"

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Doc Rings, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 6:56pm

    Don't you know the Weather Channel owns yesterday's precipitation data?

    Or that some churches owns your prayers?

    Where *have* you been?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Michael Hickins, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 7:50pm


    Isn't this like the stock market? The exchanges claim ownership of the trade information (and I suppose the ticker symbols too), and "embargo" quote information for 20 minutes. But at the end of the day, the stats are public knowledge. If you set up a fantasy investing league, would you have to pay the NYSE for the info you use? I think not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    alternatives, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 8:29pm

    Like the RIAA and MPAA

    You just walk away. Ignore 'em.

    They want to "own" it, let 'em. They can take their bat and ball and go home....they are not needed for survival - they are nothing more than entertainment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Urza, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 8:36pm

    Re: MLB

    ...A fantasy investing league??? Man, you gotta get a life! :P

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Craig, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 9:00pm

    Re: Re: MLB

    They're actually pretty useful for investors still learning the ins and outs of the market who don't want to risk their money just yet. It's how I learned and trust me, it's just as effective as any econ class if done right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    madmax, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:30am

    don't watch anymore...

    after Arod got a quarter of a billion dollars in a contract, I can't possibly give a penny to ANY sport.

    The worst is that it is the people who have the power to decide - and abuse it wildly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    madmax, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:33am

    ..let me add...

    ...that if a father can't take his kids to a ball game because it costs too much.... shame on the league and shame on the people who allowed it to get that way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 7:11am

    It really is fascinating to see how ridiculously clueless Major League Baseball is when it comes to promoting the sport. Yeah, nobody watches baseball. If only they were better at promoting themselves then people would watch. Baseball has a lot of problems, marketing and promotion is not one of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 7:32am

    Re: don't watch anymore...

    And that is why I don't watch pro sports anymore. A doctor (a profession in that actually helps people) makes a few hundred thousand a year but most of it goes to paying off school loans and malpractice insurance. But then you have athletes that make more money in one year than most doctors make in their first 10 years of practicing.

    I understand and agree that arts and entertainment are an important part of life (yes they because everyone needs something to wind down with seomthing be it books, video games, sports, music,....etc.) but things are really out of hand in this country now that the entertainers make more money than everyone else and now you have the entertainment industry basically hiring the US government to do it bidding.

    Its not just sports. Damn near all forms of entertainment are out of hand. The RIAA has resorted to suing people with little to no evidence. The MPAA uses falsified numbers to make their case against piracy. TV networks are sending in DCMA claims to video upload sites claiming to own the rights to video that they do not but will then in the same breath expect said sites to instantly find and remove infringing clips.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 7:39am


    And the Food Network owns all the recipies they show on their network each day, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    rEdEyEz, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 11:06am

    la-la land of entertainment

    What about the fans? Does the league own the fans too?

    ...I watched exactly 2 hours of a world series™ game last year, and "The Network" cut away to/ broadcast shots of the crowd approximately 50% of time that I spent viewing.

    Disturbing random panning and zooming, breaks or omissions of the continuity of the game action, and then, topped off by a commentator that yammered endlessly about innane, unrelated BS.

    Good stuff, guys. See you next year. NOT!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 12:49pm

    So boring...

    I just think people are finally realizing that baseball is the most boring sport to watch second only to golf.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    I think Orlando Cabrerra was snujbbed in the all s, Jul 2nd, 2007 @ 7:44am

    Angels have a good record and only Guerroro gets p

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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