Decided in the shadow of the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 2010 decision in American Needle v. NFL, Ryan M. Rodenberg and Daniel Hauptman analyze Deutscher Tennis Bund v. ATP World Tour (hereinafter DTB v. ATP) and aim to explain its implications for individual sports (e.g. tennis and golf) and sport governance generally. Treatment is afforded to both the District Court’s jury verdict and the Third Circuit’s appellate decision in DTB v. ATP. Despite being the first federal appellate sports antitrust decision rendered following American Needle, this article concludes that DTB v. ATP should not be considered an offspring of American Needle. More specifically, this article posits that the: (i) Third Circuit correctly applied relevant antitrust precedent in upholding the governing body’s unilateral decision to demote the German-based tournament to second-tier status as part of the ATP’s overall administration of men’s professional tennis globally; (ii) case would have been decided the same way notwithstanding American Needle; and (iii) DTB v. ATP holding is consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling in American Needle. Part II of this paper will provide background information on the ATP as well as the Sherman Act. Part III will discuss both court rulings – the jury trial in the District Court and the Third Circuit’s affirming opinion – in which the ATP prevailed. Next, Part IV will analyze the pivotal legal issue that ultimately led the case to be decided in favor of the defendants, as well as provisionally explore how this dispute may have been decided under EU competition laws. Finally, Part V will conclude by examining how this vital antitrust ruling has affected the Hamburg tennis tournament and the ATP.
Ryan M. Rodenberg & Daniel Hauptman,
American Needle’s Progeny? Tennis and Antitrust,
2 Pace. I.P. Sports & Ent. L.F.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pipself/vol2/iss1/4