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Baseball Settles Yanks-Adidas Suit

April 30, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Yankees and Adidas dropped their antitrust lawsuit against baseball today, and New York owner George Steinbrenner was reinstated to the sport’s ruling executive council.

The team and the sporting goods company sued baseball last May 6, alleging the sport interfered with the $95 million, 10-year marketing agreement the Yankees and Adidas America agreed to in March 1997.

Seven days later, the council suspended Steinbrenner, one of the four American League owners on baseball’s ruling body.

As part of the settlement, baseball and Adidas signed a licensing and advertising agreement.

However, Adidas did not gain the right to display its logo on official uniforms and jackets. In announcing the settlement, baseball also said it extended its uniform licensing deal with Russell Athletic through 1999, its batting practice jersey deal with Majestic Athletic through 1999 and its outerwear deal with Starter Corp. through 1999.

In addition, baseball extended its caps deal with New Era through 2003, and signed Adidas, Nike and Reebok as marketing partners, giving them the right to use team uniforms in advertising both in the United States and overseas.

The Yankees and Adidas sued baseball after officials in the commissioner’s office ordered the team to stop selling T-shirts with Adidas logos at Yankee Stadium and told the Yankees to stop outfitting their grounds crew in Adidas gear.

Although the suit originally was filed in Tampa, Fla., U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams Jr. decided on Dec. 19 the case should be tried in New York. That decision spurred settlement talks.

The Major League Agreement prohibits teams and owners from suing the commissioner’s office. It was not immediately known if the Yankee must pay baseball’s legal fees, as required by the Major League Agreement.

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