This Week In Sports Law: FTC Slams FanDuel And DraftKings, Nate Diaz Sued, Justin Gilbert Suspended – Forbes
FTC Blocks FanDuel And DraftKings Merger For Time Being
On June 19, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a heavily redacted Complaint against FanDuel and DraftKings based on the premise that the two companies executed a merger agreement that would create a near-monopoly in violation of federal laws. The main concern stated is that a closed merger would eliminate vigorous price and non-price competition, resulting in harm to consumers.
“Users who want to play fantasy sports for prizes in short duration contests today overwhelmingly look to DraftKings and FanDuel,” states the Complaint. “Indeed, for users who want to play short-duration contests for large cash prizes, Respondents are essentially the only two options.”
The FTC defined the relevant market for its analysis as the provision of paid daily fantasy sports in the U.S. as opposed to the fantasy sports industry at large. It came to this conclusion by distinguishing daily fantasy sports from season long fantasy sports based on contest duration, financial component and player motivation factors, as well as lineup drafting and athlete exclusivity.
Additionally, a federal judge has temporarily enjoined the merger of FanDuel and DraftKings after it was suggested that a combined entity would control over 90% of the U.S. daily fantasy sports market.
UFC Fighter Nate Diaz Sued For Stiffing Agency
Sports agency The Ballengee Group has filed a lawsuit against its former client, the popular UFC fighter Nate Diaz. In the suit, the agency seeks over $1 million based on claimed theft, breach of contract and fraud committed by Diaz.
Last year, Diaz fought important fights against Conor McGregor and The Ballengee Group says that despite negotiating the event agreements the agency was never compensated as required under contract.
The lawsuit also alleges that Diaz and lawyer Sam Award convinced UFC fighter Leslie Smith to terminate her agreement with the agency, also stiffing The Ballengee Group on compensation owed.
Justin Gilbert Suspended From NFL For A Year
Cornerback Justin Gilbert went from being forced to sit out four NFL games to being pushed to the sideline for an entire year. Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the suspension earlier this week.
The year-long suspension comes less than a couple months after Gilbert was suspended for four games, all for violations of the NFL’s Substance Abuse policy. Gilbert will be required to apply for reinstatement if he hopes to ever return to the league, which will be for the 2018 season at the earliest.
Green Bay Packers Fan Pissed About Bears Dress Code
Here is your crazy lawsuit of the week. A fan of the Green Bay Packers has filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Bears because the team institutes a dress that precluded him from wearing Packers apparel on the field for an event meant to be enjoyed by Bears season ticket holders.
The fan’s claim: the code violates his First Amendment rights. It should not be surprising that the man is proceeding pro se, although it also should not come as a surprise should a lawyer decide to attach his/her name to the Plaintiff in an effort to grab a bit of publicity.
The Packers fan is seeking relief in the form of an injunction preventing the Bears and the NFL to enforce the dress code for the 2017 NFL season and beyond.
Wild Thing Wins $1.5 Million Jury Verdict
Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams won a jury trial against MLB Network that entitles Williams to the receipt of a $1.5 million award. The dispute relates back to Williams being fired as an analyst in 2014 and brought a conclusion to the question of whether MLB Network breached its contract with Williams. That said, MLB Network is apparently considering an appeal.
Interestingly, Williams also had sued the prior parent company of Deadspin, which found itself named as a defendant in another sports-related case this week. More on that below.
Charleston Baseball Coach Accused Of Abusive Behavior
Former College of Charleston baseball players have complained about alleged abusive behavior by coach Matt Heath, which has led to the initiation of an investigation into Heath’s prior actions. Interestingly, it counts as the third time in three years that a coach at Charleston has been accused of abusive behavior.
Some former Charleston players and a current member of the baseball team have come forward in support of Heath.
“I’ve never seen coach Heath do anything that would remotely be considered abusive,” said current rising junior Nathan Ocker. “He has rules and if you follow them you will never have a problem. But if you don’t, there are going to be consequences. He makes you accountable for your actions. But I’ve never seen him do anything that is abusive.”
Deadspin Sued For Story On Sports Betting Pro
The popular sports gossip website Deadspin, along with Deadspin’s parent company, has been sued by sports betting “expert” Randall James Busack who goes by the name RJ Bell. Bell filed the lawsuit based on a story titled, “How America’s Favorite Sports Betting Expert Turned A Sucker’s Game Into An Industry.” He claims that the story contains numerous false, fabricated, fictitious and outright libelous statements, including that Bell engages in deceptive and predatory business practices by profiting when his customers’ bet and lose.
Bell wants roughly $10 million in alleged damages based on the publication of the story. He is being represented by the same lawyer who successfully sued Deadspin’s prior parent company on behalf of Hulk Hogan.
Unikrn Joins Betgenius For Regulated Esports Wagering
Betting on live esports competitions is heating up with a new partnership announced between Unikrn and Betgenius. The in-play online betting product will feature automated prices for League of Legends, DotA 2, CS:GO, Call of Duty and Overwatch tournaments.
“There is no doubt that legal, regulated wagering is a blossoming frontier in esports and we are proud to offer our customers with not only the most engaging product on the market but also the most secure,” said Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood. “This could only be achieved by partnering with a leading supplier with the utmost integrity. Betgenius was the clear choice.”
Darren Heitner the Founder of South Florida-based HEITNER LEGAL, P.L.L.C. and Sports Agent Blog. He authored the book, How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know.