Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
John Lopatka (Penn State Law) explains Antitrust and Sports Equipment Standards: Winners and Whiners.
ABSTRACT: Sports governing bodies routinely adopt equipment standards because equipment can have a dramatic impact on performance. Standards and rules set in relation to human capacity define a sport. Because standards by nature are restrictive, equipment producers stand to lose if their products do not conform. Excluded producers sometimes challenge standards on antitrust grounds. This paper explores the economics of sports equipment standard setting and the merits of the antitrust challenge. It concludes that except in the rare case in which the governing body is itself a victim of a boycott, standard setting decisions should be lawful per se.