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Fanatics Newsbeat

Monday, June 13, 2022

MLB, Teams, Fanatics Inc. Accused of Online Merchandise Monopoly

Major League Baseball is facing federal antitrust litigation in Manhattan over claims that the organization and its teams have conspired with Fanatics Inc. to corner the market for MLB products purchased through online platforms like Inc.‘s marketplace for third-party sellers.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday by a sports merchandise business, also targets Fanatics and the league’s 30 teams. It accuses MLB of tilting the scales in favor of Fanatics, which it partly owns, through restrictions on distribution of licensed products to other wholesalers and retailers.

Fanatics now “dominates” online MLB merchandise sales thanks to the restrictions, which require distributors and retailers to get league permission for any resales, according to the proposed class action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The deals allowing “MLB and Fanatics to reach downwards to attempt to restrict the conduct of retailers that horizontally compete with them” have left Fanatics “in complete control of the commerce involving MLB licensed apparel” and products, “not only on Amazon but everywhere,” the suit says.

MLB and Fanatics didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.

The suit was filed by Casey’s Distributing Inc., which is leading similar litigation against the National Football League, another Fanatics part-owner.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 13, 2022 at 03:25 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: fanatics, merchandise



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