New York Rangers, run by Madison Square Garden LP, which in turn is a Cablevision Systems unit, has filed a lawsuit against National Hockey League, alleging that NHL is violating antitrust laws by seeking to control the team’s websites, and said that “NHL has become an illegal cartel”. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, asks the judge to block NHL from seizing control of team-related businesses. NHL has threatened to impose “abusive and outrageous fines” unless the Garden surrenders control over team merchandising, licensing, and advertising, the suit says, reported on by Bloomberg.
AP: The lawsuit said the NHL insisted last week that MSG transfer control over the Rangers site, including the “nyrangers.com” address so that the league could convert it into one of 30 “cookie-cutter” club Web sites at “nhl.com.” The lawsuit said MSG had spent years developing the site to market Rangers hockey in competition with other NHL teams. By seizing the site, the NHL would eliminate competition between teams and harm consumers.
Reuters: The Garden, which is not seeking punitive damages, said it had spent six years cultivating a sophisticated and popular Rangers Web site, which includes video clips from games and access to team merchandise.