Yahoo Drops Fantasy Sports Lawsuit Against NFL Players Association; Reasoning Not Clear

from the what-happened-here? dept

Last month, we wrote about Yahoo going to court to make sure it didn't need to pay any royalties to the NFL's Player Association in order to offer up fantasy football data. This would be consistent with recent rulings that have noted that services offering fantasy sports offerings don't need to pay up for the use of data (factual information) such as player names and stats. Oddly, however, Yahoo has now dropped the case, though no one seems quite sure why. It's possible that the NFLPA has said that it won't seek money, but if that's the case, why was the lawsuit filed in the first place?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Joel Coehoorn, Jul 7th, 2009 @ 9:13pm

    It's conjecture, but I what happened is that at the time the suit was filed, Yahoo really was worried about being sued themselves. The NFLPA looked at the suit and their lawyers told them them couldn't win on the merits. They also told them that losing would set a bad precedent, but if the suit goes away they still had some leverage for bullying smaller sites with less legal muscle into paying for a license.

    So the lawyers on both sides talked, and the NFLPA lawyers promised Yahoo that if they drop the suit they won't get sued. Yahoo got what it wanted, and the NFLPA got what they wanted.

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

  2. icon
    bwp (profile), Jul 8th, 2009 @ 4:14am


    I gotta believe that's what's happened here as well. It definitely doesn't do the NFLPA any good to have a court issue a ruling.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2009 @ 8:01am

    NFLPA runs into an adversary with money and lawyers with a clue. Suit gets dropped with no decision, but Yahoo retains the right to refile. My take, Yahoo agreed to drop the suit to avoid paying lots of lawyers, and the NFLPA agreed to let it go away because they have no case and Yahoo was not going to be intimidated.

    NFLPA will now target another fantasy league. They will avoid Yahoo and ESPN and anyone else with the money to fight. They will turn their attention to some smaller fantasy sites who don't have a couple million in cash laying around to fund their lawyers. NFLPA will target them, and they will settle and pay a fee. Then the NFLPA will turn to the next site, and the next site and build a nice long list of fantasy leagues paying their extortion. Once they have extorted money from all the little guys, they will turn to the big leagues and hit up ESPN and Yahoo. Both will refuse, and the NFLPA will take them to court. They stand a decent chance of getting a stupid judge who doesn't understand the situation but will rule on it in ignorance. ESPN and Yahoo will end up having to pay because you can't exactly run a sports site/network and NOT report on the NFL.

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

  4. identicon, Aug 11th, 2010 @ 10:34am


    Yahoo acts in the most American way, blowing a preemptive strike to NFL when it feels vulnerable? Interesting...

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

  5. identicon
    meh, Apr 22nd, 2011 @ 9:05am

    i think you're wrong about one thing - it may be true that the nflpa does not want to fight yahoo or espn because they think they will lose and it will be a waste of money, but the nflpa cannot turn around and intimidate the little guy into paying royalties. all the little guy has to do is call espn and yahoo, and have them foot the bill. why? precedent; espn and yahoo can't afford to have the little guy lose, because once an issue is decided, it is so much more difficult to overturn.

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

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