NFL Broadcast Rights on the Move

By Ross Crowell, Law Library GRA Sports Law Correspondent

Watching primetime NFL games on television will probably look a bit different during the 2022 season. Fox, CBS, NBC, ESPN, and Amazon are all trying to figure out who they will have announcing their games during this upcoming football season. These multi-million dollar broadcasting contracts are legally complex, implicating different areas such as Contract Law, Employment Law, Media Law. There are also potential Antitrust Law implications, since the NFL and its television broadcasters are regulated by the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961, which grants a limited exemption to the Sherman Act permitting the various teams to enter into joint broadcasting agreements despite their anticompetitive effects.

NFL Broadcast Rights on the Move

The biggest shift relates to increased importance of streaming rights. Amazon has shaken things up being a new player in this business, as they now have the exclusive rights to stream 15 Thursday Night Football games for the 2022 season on Amazon Prime.

The networks’ broadcast booths will be playing musical chairs, as many of the biggest names will be on the move. Some top broadcasters that are potentially leaving networks are Troy Aikman (Fox), Al Michaels (NBC), Louis Riddick (ESPN), and Brian Griese (ESPN). Riddick is being considered for NFL general manager positions and Griese, whose contract expired after the 2021 season, will reportedly become the San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach. Aikman, who reportedly will become the new color analyst for Monday Night Football at ESPN, has broadcasted for Fox for 20 years, spending 19 of those with broadcast partner Joe Buck. Aikman’s reported deal will be for five years and close to $18 million annually. 

In addition to current broadcasters, some big-name former players are also in consideration for these roles. Recently retired 7-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady reportedly will be contacted by Amazon and Fox to gauge his interest in broadcasting. Drew Brees, who led the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl, was on television last season for NBC and could be poached by one of the competing networks. 

However, Brees only has one year of experience on television and Brady has not broadcasted any games, as he retired just over a month ago. As these contracts for broadcasters rival what the top players in the NFL are paid, it is a bit of a risk to hire someone with inexperience. However, the names of Brees and Brady likely will draw in many fans that would want to tune in to their broadcasts. The networks will have to carefully weigh these various considerations when negotiating these complex employment contracts.

College Athletes Can Profit from their Names, Images, and Likenesses. Now What?

By Ross Crowell, Law Library GRA Sports Law Correspondent

Prior to 2021, college athletes were strictly seen as unpaid athletes. That has changed over the past several months, as now college athletes are able to make money off of their name, image and likeness (“NIL”). While the schools are still not allowed to directly pay their student athletes, the student athletes can now make money from things like advertisements and social media. However, the confusing legal environment surrounding NIL means that colleges and athletes are unsure of what they can and cannot do.

The history behind the change involves federalism, activism, and antitrust law. First, Florida passed a state law in June 2020 that legalized college athletes to capitalize off of their name, image and likeness, with the law going into effect on July, 1, 2021. Several other states followed Florida. These state laws, along with activism by the college athletes , a Supreme Court opinion holding NCAA limits on education-related benefits to be invalid under federal antitrust law, and other events, led to the NCAA adopting a temporary rule change on June 30, 2021, allowing college athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeness.

The NCAA abruptly enacting this temporary rule change has created mass confusion among its member schools, as there is currently not much clarity on what is and what is not allowed. Additionally, different states having very different NIL laws has put some schools at a disadvantage. For example, Alabama and Florida, among other states, have stricter NIL laws than other states. Thus, college athletes in those jurisdictions cannot take advantage of the NIL to the same degree as athletes in states that do not have any NIL law at all (such as Kentucky and Virginia). 

Sports balls on a background comprised of $100 bills.


With players signing lucrative NIL contracts to appear in national advertisements for established brands, stakeholders are seeking clarity and uniformity. From the perspective of colleges, restrictive state NIL laws could be a disadvantage in recruiting, or even prompt top athletes to transfer to schools where they can fully take advantage of NIL. This resulted in the Alabama House voting in favor of repealing its prior law. Other states likely will follow, as the state legislatures will want their universities on a level playing field with schools in other states. 

The best solution to this issue may be to enact a new federal law to restore uniformity by preempting the current state NIL laws. Instead of 50 different state laws dictating how their college athletes can profit from their NILs, there would be a single rule that all universities and teams have to play by. 

The NCAA seems to feel the same way. When the NCAA announced the legality of NIL on June 30, 2021, Division I Board of Directors chair Denise Trauth said, “with this interim solution in place, we will continue to work with Congress to adopt federal legislation to support student-athletes.” Congress held a hearing on October 1, 2021, where NCAA president Mark Emmert called on Congress to act, claiming that the NCAA has an urgent need for NIL federal framework.

So far, there has not been any federal or NCAA action taken. This will be an interesting issue to follow, as many college sports pundits claim that NIL has turned college athletics into the “wild wild west” without an overarching law. 

The MLB Lockout: A Look at the Issues

By Ross Crowell, GSU Law Library Sports Law Correspondent

Here in Atlanta, many baseball fans should be looking forward to the upcoming baseball season, as the Braves are fresh off of a World Series victory. The Braves should start off the 2022 season in under two months, as their first game is scheduled at the Miami Marlins on March 31. However, the Braves and the rest of Major League Baseball (“MLB”) likely will not be playing games as scheduled. It appears to be an all-but certainty that the 2022 season will not start on time due to the MLB lockout. And ultimately it might be beneficial to remember that the lockout grew out of something everyone who’s taken 1L Contracts is at least passingly familiar with: protracted negotiations over an extremely complex contract.

The MLB Lockout: A Look at the Issues

We are now over two months into the lockout, which has been caused by the owners and players failing to reach a new collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). Further, it appears that the two sides have not made much progress in reaching an agreement. The lockout began on December 2, when the Major League Baseball Players Association and the owners could not reach an agreement, resulting in the MLB’s first work stoppage since 1994. 

The players and owners are mainly arguing over financial issues, with players upset that they aren’t paid the high salaries they think they deserve. The players also want to change a long-time rule that forces players to wait six years to reach free agency. As players’ first contracts are usually not for substantial money unless they were a high draft pick, this rule forces players to wait a significant amount of time before they can cash in on a big second contract (potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars in some cases). 

Further, the players and owners are struggling to reach an agreement on the pre-arbitration bonus pool. The players recently lowered their proposed pre-arbitration bonus pool from $105 million to $100 million, while the owners are sitting at a proposed $10 million. Thus, there is a significant gap in those negotiations. 

Additional issues that the two sides are arguing over are disincentivizing tanking (i.e., stop rewarding teams who intentionally perform poorly), increasing the competitive balance tax threshold, and ending service-time manipulation. The service-time manipulation is an interesting issue that notably occurred with Atlanta’s All Star outfielder Ronald Acuña. With Acuña, the Braves knew that he was ready to be a big contributor during 2018. However, Atlanta waited until three weeks into the season to call Acuña up from the minor leagues, as this would allow the Braves to get an extra year out of Acuña’s contract before hitting free agency. Thus, the players are hoping the new CBA will put an end to this practice. 

Moreover, these negotiations involve several attorneys. Notably, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was a labor and employment partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP prior to his career with the MLB. While Manfred was with Morgan Lewis, he negotiated on behalf of the owners during the 1994-1995 MLB lockout, along with negotiating the league’s first drug-testing program in 2022. Dan Halem, who is the league’s Deputy Commissioner, previously served as a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, working in labor and employment law, along with sports law. Additionally, Bruce Meyer, the MLB Players Association Senior Director of Collective Bargaining and Legal, is a partner at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP. Meyer also has experience working on behalf of the NHL, NFL, and NBA during arbitrations, lawsuits, and CBA negotiations. 

These are just a handful of things that are being heavily disputed between the players and owners. With spring training tentatively beginning on February 16, it appears highly unlikely that things will get started on time, likely resulting in the regular season getting pushed back. If you are planning on going to the Braves’ home opener on April 7 against the Mets, now might be the time to start coming to the realization that the game may not occur.  

So, when you’re trying to connect tricky concepts around negotiations, contracts, and labor law to the real world, it might actually be beneficial to think of all of those baseball games that will never be played.

Study Aid Spotlight- Acing Contracts

By Ross Crowell

In today’s Study Aid Spotlight, Law Library GRA Ross Crowell looks at a concise, popular study aid for your Contracts course. To make sure you’ve got all of your 1L bases covered, check out our recent post with librarian-curated study aid selections for all of them.

Study Aid Spotlight- Acing Contracts

To me, the first semester of Contracts was a complete blur. From the big picture, everything seemed so simple. Offer, acceptance, consideration. Easy enough. However, once we got into the details of cases, things got quite confusing. As a 1L, Acing Contracts helped clear up a lot of these issues as I was cramming for the final exam. 

You can access Acing Contracts very easily: in addition to the library’s print copy, a digital version of the text is available through West Academic’s online study aid collection. Before getting into the nitty gritty details of your Contracts course, check out the Table of Contents for a solid foundation of topics (Offer and Acceptance, Consideration, Statute of Frauds, Defenses, Parol Evidence, etc.), that will help you organize your outline headings. 

Getting into the details, Acing Contracts does a good job of putting the course’s rules and explanations into plain English. As a 1L, so many times I would read some case from the early 1900s and, due to the language and writing style used at the time, it would be tough for me to follow along. Acing Contracts breaks down all of that legal jargon, explaining what you need to know in more modern terms.

It also does a good job of giving relevant examples. There are tons of practice problems that are useful for exam practice, and each comes with an in-depth answer. (Side note – I highly recommend writing out several practice problems for each class. That is probably the biggest thing I realized that I needed to change about my exam preparation after my first semester of law school.) 

Moreover, Acing Contracts provides rule statements from the almighty Restatement Second of Contracts and the UCC. Additionally, it provides checklists for some concepts you might come across (a great example I took advantage of is the in-depth Statute of Frauds checklist).

This study aid will definitely help you write your Contracts outline and study for your final. Most of all, I appreciated the way it put complicated concepts into easy-to-read language. While it is probably best to focus your outlining and studying around your class’s lectures and textbook, Acing Contracts is a great study tool for filling in the gaps and clearing up some of the more complicated concepts.

Study Aid Spotlight- selections for the current 1L courses

Call it Study Aid Spotlight, tripartite edition. We’re going to take a look at not just one, but three study aids, specially chosen for the Fall 2021 1L courses.

As a 1L staring down your first finals, it pays to study up on studying. And while it’s great to have an entire publishing subcategory dedicated to aiding you in this process of studying for law school exams, it can result in a rather paralyzing proliferation of study aid options.

Fortunately, the library’s got your back. We’ve been toiling away to formulate this list of what are unquestionably the very best study aids for your fall courses, as determined by facts & logic.

Civil Procedure- Examples & Explanations

Choices don’t come easier than this. Not only does Professor Glannon (don’t worry: he’ll come up again) communicate the niceties of CivPro with clarity and wit, the example-based format keeps the focus squarely on the all-important skill of applying the law. We have an entire post extolling the virtues of this legendary study aid, so I’m not going to belabor this E&E’s exemplary qualities. Suffice it to say, this one’s a must-have.

Sum and Substance- Contracts (Audio)

More than the other 1L subjects, Contracts is starved for truly great study aids. There are plenty of solid hornbooks, but my usual application-focused standbys—E&Es and Glannon Guides—are a bit underwhelming when it comes to Contracts.

That helps Sum & Substance- Contracts stand out. Audio study aids like this one can improve your studying efficiency, since the format encourages multitasking. Here, Professor Brain does a good job of unpacking the major doctrines in a conversational style.

However, what really sets this apart from other audio study aids is the focus on applying the law. After discussing and summarizing each topic, Professor Brain includes a brief section on answering related questions on a law school exam, going over typical fact pattern and explaining how to analyze them.  

Torts- Examples & Explanations

Another Glannon classic! This one features the same mix of right-to-the-point explication and irreverent humor that made its CivPro counterpart so useful. Standout chapters include “That Odious Character: The Reasonable Person,” whose examples employ Falstaff, Dogberry, and other Shakespearean characters to memorably illustrate concepts like reasonable care and the Hand formula. I can’t recommend this one strongly enough.

Do you like these choices? Do you disagree with them? Which study aids are your top choices? Let us know in the comments!