The Hill Rising: Matt Stoller says cheerleading industry shows why antitrust laws are ‘insufficient

May 28, 2021 Media

Matt Stoller, research director for the American Economic Liberties Project, told Hill.TV that U.S. antitrust laws are “insufficient,” citing the cheerleading industry as an example.

Stoller described how Varsity Brands, which he said controls most of the cheerleading contests, finances the nonprofit that sets the rules and also sells equipment for competitions. That domination of the industry, he said, can cost parents “10, 20 thousand dollars a year” to have their kids involved in the sport.

“There’s a big debate about the American economy and whether big corporations are big and powerful because they are just better at stuff…or whether the law has allowed for monopolization. Why I like to study this market of cheerleading is because it really shows that it’s all the law,” said Stoller, author of “Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy.”

Stoller pointed to “the weakening of antitrust law” as a reason for the dominance of Varsity Brands.

“If antitrust law were stronger…a lot of the things that Varsity does wouldn’t be legal and it would just be a much fairer marketplace,” Stoller said.

Stoller’s remarks come as antitrust scrutiny heats up. Apple CEO Tim Cook testified on May 21 in front of a California federal court during an antitrust trial concerning the company’s App Store. A few days later, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced a round of antitrust hearings this summer that will focus on technology and pharmaceuticals.