Those poor professional sports leagues

The Supreme Court decision earlier this week that gave for-profit fantasy baseball league sites the right to use the names of real players without paying a licensing fee is much bigger than it appears on the surface. It’s a pro-consumer vote by the court, and one that puts a big monkey wrench in the efforts of professional leagues — regardless of the sport — to frame EVERYTHING associated with their business as under their control.

You could almost sense a collective smile from media companies, who’ve seen their access to professional sports diminish to the point where the leagues are basically saying, “We don’t want or need you anymore.” This decision opens the door to create applications that serve the same purpose as cozying up to the leagues in the first place — the ability to serve advertising targeting a young and male audience.

Oops!

“Billions of dollars in licensing fees” are at stake, if you believe Major League Baseball’s argument, which was supported by the National Football League, the National Basketball Assn. and the National Hockey League. I don’t think it’s as much about licensing fees as it is about advertising. These leagues not only want to control everything about their sports (it’s their business), but they also want to control any ancillary access to potential profits. Sports isn’t about sports anymore; it’s all about the money.

My heart bleeds for professional sports. Really.

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