Sport Marketing and the Law: Fantasy Stats Case Tests Limits of Intellectual Property Protection in the Digital Age, pp. 230-232
Fantasy sports have become an increasingly popular outlet for average sports fans desiring “ownership” in a fantasy professional sports league. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (2006), 15-18 million players participate annually in fantasy sports leagues. “With fantasy sports generating an estimated $100 million in revenue and growing at a 7%-10% [rate] annually, unions and leagues see a lucrative opportunity to cash in on players’ names and performance” (McCarthy, 2006. p. 1). Given the driving force behind fantasy sports is the combined use of player names and statistics, a novel legal issue is presented: Who owns the rights to the combination of player names and statistics when used for commercial purposes—the player, the league, or the public? The answer to this question raises several facets of intellectual property protection and is representative of the broader problems of protecting intellectual property in the digital age (Baldas, 2005).