From Brad Humphreys at TSE:
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the American Needle v. National Football League case yesterday. The central issue in the case, whether or not the NFL is a "single entity" and exempt from anti-trust law, could have profound effects on the way the league does business.
Newspaper reports on the arguments suggest that the Court was not receptive to the NFL's arguments. The NFL argued that the sale of merchandise with team logos was not aimed at making profits, but instead was intended to promote the league. The New York Times coverage emphasized the skepticism of the justices. The Washington Post coverage focused more on the idea that, if the NFL wins, it could gain a blanket anti-trust exemption. Both articles clearly indicate that the tone of the arguments indicated that the court was not buying the NFL's arguments.
That argument by the NFL is purely laughable. Why would the NFL want to promote itself in the first place? To make profits, of course. And why do they want to make the decision collectively? Because the collusive profit per member is higher than the competitive profit per member.
Here's some more information on the case. Here is a link to the amicus brief written by some prominent sports economists. Here is a post by Nathaniel Grow over at the Sports Law Blog with some more information on the case and links to more briefs.