MLB's Bid to Control Fantasy Baseball May Have Backfired on All Pro Sports Leagues

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article in its Tuesday edition about a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could have a profound impact on online fantasy sports. The article says that Major League Baseball and the Players Association have been fighting for three years to limit the number of companies offering online fantasy baseball games. They apparently attempted to use a strategy that combined strict licensing terms with high fees.

A year ago, a company called CDM Fantasy Sports Corp won the right to use statistical information without paying a license fee. Major League Baseball appealed to the Supreme Court. The Court just rejected the appeal without comment.

The article goes on to say:

In taking on the fantasy-baseball operators, and losing, MLB has likely cost every pro sports league millions of dollars. All the leagues had been getting fees from fantasy operators.

The first few times I read this, I assumed that the reporter meant that MLB shouldn't have appealed the lower court's decision. Now I suspect that the strategy being questioned question is the attempt to license statistics more strictly and increase fees.

I wonder if the ultimate effect of this decision will be that fantasy sports become so widely available that nobody makes money hosting them? [ Paid subscription may be required to access articles from The Wall Street Journal. ]