Monday, October 13, 2008

Judge Says NY Rangers Victory in NHL Lawsuit Over Websites Unlikely

MSG won the right to continue its antitrust lawsuit against the NHL, but it faces a “tall order” in its effort to prove its case, U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska ruled late Friday. Preska dismissed a portion of the MSG suit objecting to the league’s rules prohibiting the Rangers from selling team merchandise outside its home arena, broadcasting games outside of their local area, and using virtual signage during game broadcasts. But the judge allowed the new media portion of the suit to continue, even as she expressed doubts MSG could win. “To be sure, MSG faces a tall order in making its case,” Preska wrote. “This Court has already observed that agreements among parents of a joint venture not to compete in the market in which a joint venture operates have generally been upheld.” Despite that warning, MSG plans to continue with the new media portion of the lawsuit, which focuses on the league’s rule preventing teams from operating their own Web sites independent from the NHL’s common platform. In a statement, MSG said, "We are pleased the court recognized the validity of our fundamental claims and will continue to pursue the legal process through final resolution.” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly: “The court's ruling reinforces once more our belief that MSG's claims lack any basis in fact or law. While we believe the parties would be far better served to devote their time and resources to more productive endeavors, the league and the clubs are committed to doing whatever is necessary to confirm our rights.”
By Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal

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