The Joseph Saveri Law Firm has filed a class action antitrust lawsuit today in the United State District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on behalf of competitive cheer families against Varsity Brands, LLC; Varsity Spirit, LLC; and Varsity Spirit Fashion & Supplies, LLC (Varsity), along with U.S. All Star Federation, Inc. (USASF) and others.
Jones et al. v. Varsity Brands, also names as Defendants Varsity founder and current chairman, Jeff Webb, and past and present corporate owners Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC and Bain Capital Private Equity that provided the funding for the activities challenged in the suit.
Varsity (collectively Varsity Brands, LLC, Varsity Spirit, LLC, and Varsity Spirit Fashion & Supplies, LLC) is by far the largest producer of cheer competitions and the largest seller of cheer uniforms and equipment in the United States. Competitive cheer is a sport in which teams of athletes develop routines combining tumbling, stunting, pyramids, and dance. The teams are typically affiliated with a school or private gym. Teams compete against one another in cheer competitions. Rule-making organizations such as USASF set the rules and regulations for cheer competitions, including rules about the apparel athletes can wear in them.
Plaintiff cheer parents allege the Defendants and their co-conspirators have abused Varsity’s market power to raise, fix, and stabilize the prices charged and associated with competitive cheer. As a result, cheer athletes, together with their parents, friends, and families, have been overcharged by the Defendants, who have obtained millions of dollars in supracompetitive illegal profits.
Varsity possesses monopoly power in the market for cheer competitions, and it controls the USASF and all other rule-making organizations governing competitive cheer. It acquired its monopoly through a systematic program of acquiring its rivals and using its dominant market position and control of the rule-making organizations to create barriers to foreclose competition in the cheer competition market.
Varsity also manufactures and sells the apparel, accessories, and equipment athletes are required to use in cheer competitions and at practices. Groups desiring to compete at school cheer championship events are often required to pay to attend Varsity’s own cheer camps. Families of cheer athletes are left with no choice but to pay Varsity’s prices for its competitions and uniforms.
As a direct and proximate result of Varsity’s unlawful and anticompetitive behavior, Class members have indirectly paid higher prices for cheer competitions, cheer apparel, and cheer camps, as well as related goods and services, and have thereby suffered, and continue to suffer, antitrust injury.
“When we think of competitive cheer, we think of healthy, fun activities that benefit our children’s lives. We don’t think of corporations abusing their monopoly power and dominance of this industry. Unfortunately, that’s what Varsity and their co-conspirators are engaged in here, forcing athletes and their families to pay inflated prices for Varsity’s competitions, camps, and uniforms. Without relief, cheer families will continue to be financially impacted by this monopolistic behavior,” said lead attorney Joseph Saveri.
Plaintiffs seek to recover damages from the Defendants, as well as injunctive relief, on behalf of themselves and a proposed class of athletes and their families who have and continue to be overcharged for Varsity’s goods and services.
Please contact the Firm if:
- If you have paid for Varsity’s high competition fees, overpriced uniforms, camps, and inflated stay-to-play hotel charges
- You have family members or friends who participate or have participated in cheer with a gym, a club, or through their school, and have paid Varsity’s prices for cheer competitions, uniforms, camps, equipment, or other fees and charges
Any information you provide will be kept strictly confidential as provided by law.