The National Football League (NFL) has a policy for admitting expansion franchises that conditions admission on the affirmative vote of three-fourths of current member teams. Limitations on the number of franchises allow a small group to control the provision of professional football, and every element thereof—from prices of tickets and concessions to the quality of the overall experience. The United States’ antitrust law restricts conduct, by agreement or monopolization, that has the effect of restricting trade to the detriment of consumers. This Note discusses the antitrust setting in which the NFL’s expansion policy exists and the foundational legislation. The Note goes on to apply current antitrust law to the NFL’s expansion policy to determine whether there should be concerns about liability. In suggesting that, yes, the NFL expansion policy is anticompetitive to the detriment of consumers, this Note endorses the theory of parallel exclusion as a beneficial addition to antitrust analyses.
Lucas Follett, Unsportsmanlike Conduct: An Analysis of the NFL's Expansion Policy Under U.S. Antitrust Law, 61 B.C. L. Rev. 2191 (2020), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol61/iss6/6