SW Legal studies in Business

Broadcaster's Claim of Conspiracy Between PGA and Major Advertisers May Proceed
Description Appeals court held that an on-site radio broadcaster that operated at professional golf tournaments, and claims it was frozen out of the market by a conspiracy between the PGA and major advertisers, showed sufficient facts for the restraint of trade allegation to go to trial.
Topic Antitrust
Key Words Sherman 1; Conspiracy; Restraint of Trade; Horizontal Agreement
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Spectators' pioneered the use of on-site radio broadcasting at professional golf tournaments. Because fans at tournaments can only see a part of the course, Spectators' broadcasts tournament events only to people at the course by a low-frequency radio. It makes its money by selling on-air commercials. The Professional Golf Association, PGA, allowed Spectators' to broadcast for several years but then replaced it with its own radio broadcasts at golf courses. Anheuser-Busch (A-B), a major golf sponsor, signed Spectators' to broadcast at a few tournaments, but, Spectators' claims A-B was forced by the PGA to end the relationship so that the PGA could control all aspects of tournaments. Spectators' sued the PGA, A-B, other PGA sponsors, and various golf courses for conspiracy to restrain trade in the market for professional golf on-site advertising services. The district court dismissed the case, holding that Spectators' simply lost to competition. Spectators' appealed.
Decision Reversed. Spectators' has presented sufficient facts to preclude dismissal of the case. There is a fact question as to whether A-B and other potential advertisers were coerced or enticed by the PGA to freeze Spectators' out of the market. The rule of reason will apply to the claim of a horizontal boycott by the PGA with advertising sponsors. While the PGA is interested in competition for such services, so its motives are different from those of A-B and other sponsors, it is possible that they would conspire to limit competition in the market for radio services.
Citation Spectators' Communication Network v. Colonial Country Club, - F.3d - (2001 WL 585132, 5th Cir., 2001)

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