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The Merchandise Antitrust Suit and the Bears

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While we've all been wringing our hands, and pulling our hair out, about the Bears seeming inffectiveness at hiring anybody for some positions, there's been some NFL news that seems to have escaped the public eye a little bit.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a nice little article that sums up the case, but here goes: An Illinois company has charged the NFL's deal with Reebok from the beginning of the decade to be a violation of antitrust rules. A choice quote:

"That is why, for example, the Green Bay Packers have promoted their pro shop with the slogan, 'Where your purchases help the Packers win.' As the Packers explained on their Web site: The Packers Pro Shop and are the only shopping locations where the Packers' organization inherits all sales revenue. Revenue from Packers merchandise sold elsewhere - your local mall, for example - is shared by the entire league. Buy from the Pro Shop, help the Packers win. Buy anywhere else, help the Chicago Bears win, too," according to court documents.

What does this mean to the Bears, you ask? Quite simply, the revenues from these sales are spread across the league. While this is all well and good, it means that all teams benefit from the sales of Chicago Bears merchandise. Should this deal be broken up, the Bears could stand to benefit from receiving more of money that their strong merchandise sales allow.

That money could go a long way toward the future restructing of management and coaching staff.