Doug Pappas links to a Mercury News article and offers up some juicy details on MLB franchise rights. Apparently the A's may be looking for new digs. Giants owner Peter MacGowan has just told the A's to divert their attention from potential suitor San Jose (in Santa Clara County). Doug states:
Unlike the two-team markets of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, the Bay Area is divided between the Giants and Athletics. The Major League Constitution gives the Giants exclusive rights to San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Marin Counties, as well as the right to exclude another major league club from Santa Clara County.
As in other leagues, franchise relocation requires supermajority approval by the owners (here, a 3/4 rule applies). The article notes that
Magowan said he sympathizes with Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who is fighting the possible relocation of the Montreal Expos to northern Virginia or Washington, D.C., calling the latter possibility ``a direct assault on the Orioles.''
Can you count two votes against relocating the Expos?
The NFL lost (in a dubious 1984 court decision) the fight to keep Al Davis from moving the Raiders to LA. My guess is that territorial restrictions and supermajority control over franchise relocation would pass muster in today's antitrust climate, but you never know.