window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'G-QV9HFVZD64'); NFL Ordered to Pay $4.8B in 'Sunday Ticket' Antitrust Lawsuit author - TELCOTELCO

NFL Ordered to Pay $4.8B in ‘Sunday Ticket’ Antitrust Lawsuit

In a landmark decision, the NFL has been ordered to pay nearly $4.8 billion in damages after a U.S. District Court jury found the league guilty of violating antitrust laws in the distribution of out-of-market Sunday afternoon games via a premium subscription service.

The breakdown of the damages includes $4.7 billion awarded to the residential class and $96 million to the commercial class. This lawsuit affected 2.4 million residential subscribers and 48,000 businesses that paid for the package of out-of-market games through DirecTV from the 2011 to 2022 seasons. The plaintiffs argued that the NFL’s pricing strategy for the Sunday games package was inflated and that the league restricted competition by exclusively offering “Sunday Ticket” through a satellite provider.

The NFL announced its intention to appeal the verdict, which would be addressed by the 9th Circuit and potentially the Supreme Court. In a statement, the league expressed disappointment with the jury’s decision and defended its media distribution strategy, highlighting the availability of NFL games on free over-the-air television in local markets, national distribution of popular games, and additional services like RedZone, Sunday Ticket, and NFL+.

“We will certainly contest this decision as we believe that the class action claims in this case are baseless and without merit,” the NFL stated.

The jury, composed of five men and three women, reached their verdict after nearly five hours of deliberation. Plaintiffs’ attorney Bill Carmody emphasized the broader implications of the case during closing arguments, stating, “This case transcends football. This case matters. It’s about justice. It’s about telling the 32 team owners who collectively own all the big TV rights, the most popular content in the history of TV — that even you cannot ignore the antitrust laws. Even you cannot collude to overcharge consumers. Even you can’t hide the truth and think you’re going to get away with it.”

The NFL contended that it has the right to sell “Sunday Ticket” under its antitrust exemption for broadcasting, while the plaintiffs argued that this exemption only applies to over-the-air broadcasts and not pay TV services.

DirecTV held the rights to “Sunday Ticket” from its inception in 1994 until 2022. The NFL has since signed a seven-year agreement with Google’s YouTube TV, which commenced with the 2023 season.

The lawsuit originated in 2015 by the Mucky Duck sports bar in San Francisco but was initially dismissed in 2017. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the case in 2019, and last year, Judge Gutierrez ruled that the case could proceed as a class action.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply