Sunday, February 01, 2004

Antitrust: Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. As we enjoy tonight's contest between the Patriots and Panthers, keep this in mind: Were it left to the antitrust laws—the "Magna Carta of free enterprise" according to its defenders—there would be no Super Bowl. The NFL and AFL needed a congressional waiver to complete their merger, which included the creation of the Super Bowl, because otherwise the deal would have been an antitrust violation. Under antitrust doctrine, the AFL- NFL merger illegally eliminated competition for "major-league professional football" and presumptively harmed consumers. The fact that 38 years later consumers are doing just fine despite the lack of a second major football league should not be lost on anyone.

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