Sports Law • Risk Management

Protective Netting

MLB Protective Netting Extension: To Protect the Fans or to Protect the Facility Owners?

The start of the 2018 season will see all 30 MLB install protective netting to the near ends of each dugout with some teams extending their protective netting even further. In doing so, these clubs are extending the protection to spectators who are dangerously close to the action. Baseball, since the early 1900’s, has been operating under the safety net of the “Baseball Rule,” the assumption of risk that states that injury from objects leaving the field of play and into the stands are an open and obvious risk that is inherent to the game. In purchasing their tickets and attending a game, spectators agree to the Baseball Rule, which might include their suffering injuries from balls, bats, gloves, and even athletes making their way into the stands.

However, baseball today is vastly different from the games played a century ago.