The NFL and fanatics face new allegations that they are conspiring to dominate the online market for NFL-licensed apparel

(Photo credit: T.Schneider/Shutterstock)

Overview of the NFL Fanatics Licensed Apparel Class Action:

  • WHO: A group of buyers of NFL licensed merchandise has filed a class action lawsuit against the National Football League and Fanatics Inc.
  • Why: Apparel buyers say the NFL and the Fanatics are working together to dominate the online NFL licensed apparel market and fend off the competition.
  • Or: The class action lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York.

The National Football League (NFL) and Fanatics Inc. are facing new antitrust allegations that they are working together to dominate the online market for NFL-licensed apparel.

Plaintiffs Saul Maldonado, Dean Santos, Lesia Dunn, Kimberly Ann Marckmann and Louis Hibbs claim the NFL and the Fanatics have an exclusive agreement to sell officially licensed merchandise.

The class action lawsuit filed in New York comes just days after similar allegationsfiled separately by consumers and a third-party Amazon retailer, were voluntarily terminated by a federal court in California, Law360 reports.

Maldonado, Santos, Dunn, Marckmann, and Hibbs, all of whom have purchased NFL-licensed merchandise directly from the NFL and Fanatics, further claim that the two boycott other sellers who have purchased merchandise to resell on sites. such as Amazon’s third-party online marketplace.

“This boycott eliminated defendants’ competitors who allegedly charged lower prices for NFL-licensed products sold online,” the class action lawsuit states. “In doing so, the boycott removed the downward pressure on prices and margins that, but for the conspiracy, would otherwise have resulted directly from increased competition.”

NFL and fanatics managed to ‘dominate’ market, buyers say

Buyers say NFL and Fanatics, after successfully “dominating” the market for NFL licensed apparel online, are now working together to further reduce competition rather than compete with each other.

“The conspiracy as a whole, and each individual party, allowed defendants to charge supracompetitive prices for NFL licensed products and to split monopoly profits between them,” the class action lawsuit states.

The buyers want to represent a national category of consumers who have purchased NFL licensed merchandise online from Fanatics, the NFL or one of its 32 franchises.

Maldonado, Santos, Dunn, Marckmann and Hibbs claim the NFL and fanatics are in violation of the Sherman Law and the Clayton Law.

The plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial and seeking an injunction as well as treble damages for themselves and all class members.

A separate class action lawsuit was filed against the NFL last month by former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who claimed he was racially discriminated after the New York Giants failed to hire him for a head coaching position.

Did you purchase NFL licensed apparel directly from the NFL or Fanatics? Let us know in the comments!

Plaintiffs are represented by William J. Ban, Michael A. Toomey, Jeffrey B. Gittleman and Stephen R. Basser of Barrack Rodos & Bacine, Warren T. Burns, Christopher J. Cormier, Spencer Cox and Patrick Murphree of Burns Charest. LLP, Dena C. Sharp, Adam E. Polk and Kyle P. Quackenbush of Girard Sharp LLP and Andrew M. Purdy of Brown Neri Smith & Khan LLP.

the NFL Fanatics Licensed Apparel Class Action Legal Action East Maldonado, et al. vs. National Football League Inc., et al.Case No. 1:22-cv-02289, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York



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