Monday, June 29, 2009
The Supreme Court will decide whether the National Football League and its 32 teams can enter an exclusive licensing deal with a maker of team jerseys and other gear without violating federal antitrust law.
The court says it will hear an appeal from American Needle Inc., of Buffalo Grove, Ill., that challenges an agreement the NFL struck with Reebok International Ltd. American Needle had been one of many firms that manufactured NFL headwear until the league granted an exclusive contract to Reebok in 2001.
The NFL won the case in the federal appeals court in Chicago. But it also asked the Supreme Court to hear the case in a quest for a more sweeping decision that could stop what the league considers costly, frivolous antitrust lawsuits.