15 U.S. Code § 1291 - Exemption from antitrust laws of agreements covering the telecasting of sports contests and the combining of professional football leagues

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The antitrust laws, as defined in section 1 of the Act of October 15, 1914, as amended (38 Stat. 730) [15 U.S.C. 12], or in the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended (38 Stat. 717) [15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.], shall not apply to any joint agreement by or among persons engaging in or conducting the organized professional team sports of football, baseball, basketball, or hockey, by which any league of clubs participating in professional football, baseball, basketball, or hockey contests sells or otherwise transfers all or any part of the rights of such league’s member clubs in the sponsored telecasting of the games of football, baseball, basketball, or hockey, as the case may be, engaged in or conducted by such clubs. In addition, such laws shall not apply to a joint agreement by which the member clubs of two or more professional football leagues, which are exempt from income tax under section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 [26 U.S.C. 501 (c)(6)], combine their operations in expanded single league so exempt from income tax, if such agreement increases rather than decreases the number of professional football clubs so operating, and the provisions of which are directly relevant thereto.


(Pub. L. 87–331, § 1,Sept. 30, 1961, 75 Stat. 732; Pub. L. 89–800, § 6(b)(1),Nov. 8, 1966, 80 Stat. 1515; Pub. L. 99–514, § 2,Oct. 22, 1986, 100 Stat. 2095.)
References in Text

The Federal Trade Commission Act, referred to in text, is act Sept. 26, 1914, ch. 311, 38 Stat. 717, as amended, which is classified generally to subchapter I (§ 41 et seq.) of chapter 2 of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 58 of this title and Tables.

1986—Pub. L. 99–514substituted “Internal Revenue Code of 1986” for “Internal Revenue Code of 1954”.
1966—Pub. L. 89–800extended exemption from antitrust laws to include a joint agreement by which the member clubs of two or more professional football leagues combine their operations in an expanded single league.
Short Title

Pub. L. 87–331, Sept. 30, 1961, 75 Stat. 732, as amended, which enacted this chapter, is popularly known as the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961.
Savings Provision

Pub. L. 87–331, § 6,Sept. 30, 1961, 75 Stat. 732, provided that: “Nothing in this Act [this chapter] shall affect any cause of action existing on the effective date hereof [Sept. 30, 1961] in respect to the organized professional team sports of baseball, football, basketball, or hockey.”

The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.

The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013

An empty table indicates that we see no relevant changes listed in the classification tables. If you suspect that our system may be missing something, please double-check with the Office of the Law Revision Counsel.

15 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large


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