Players from several of the recently-obsolete World Football League joined to create the Mid-South Grizzlies (plaintiff), a professional football team located in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies applied to the NFL (defendant) for a franchise. The NFL rejected the application, citing a number of reasons, including recent expansion of teams to Seattle, Washington and Tampa, Florida; the scheduling need for an even number of teams; and an uncertain labor relationship with the NFL’s Players Association (NFLPA). The Grizzlies then filed suit alleging violations of antitrust laws as well as 15 U.S.C.A. § 1291, which provided sports leagues a limited antitrust exemption to pool and sell their television rights and to allow the merger of the National and American Football Leagues “if such agreement increases rather than decreases the number of professional football clubs.” The district court granted the NFL’s motion for summary dismissal and the Grizzlies appealed.