Quentin Batalillon

General News 2024

NFL ordered to pay billions in antitrust ‘Sunday Ticket’ lawsuit

A ruling has now been reached in the antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, stating that the league knowingly fixed the prices for the “Sunday Ticket,” making it a premium price to prevent fans from purchasing it. The complaint states that the league attempted to maintain ratings for games broadcast on CBS and Fox, resulting in higher prices for the “Sunday Ticket.”

Read more: Massive NFL lawsuit could drastically change how we watch games

According to Meghann Cuniff, “the jury answered ‘yes’ to all questions of liability, including that @DIRECTV knowingly participated in the price-fixing with @NFL on Sunday Ticket.”

As a result of this ruling, the NFL will have to pay billions of dollars in damages to the commercial and residential classes that purchased the “Sunday Ticket.”

Cuniff states: “Jury in Sunday Ticket antitrust trial orders NFL to pay $96 million in damages to commercial class and $4 BILLION in damages to residential class.”

But according to Pro Football Network, those numbers add up to a total of $12 billion under antitrust law.

NFL Sunday Ticket Event
LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 17: A general view of the atmosphere at DIRECTV CELEBRATES 25TH SEASON of NFL SUNDAY TICKET at Nomad Hotel Los Angeles on July 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. The NFL…

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for NFL SUNDAY TICKET on DIRECTV

The lawsuit originally began in 2015, when a San Francisco, California bar called Mucky Duck filed a lawsuit against the NFL and “Sunday Ticket” over inflated prices.

According to details of the lawsuit from Yahoo Sports, “The class-action lawsuit, which represents nearly 2.5 million customers, including individuals and bar owners, alleges that the NFL violated antitrust laws that restrict competition in an effort to protect its lucrative deals with Fox and CBS for Sunday afternoon games. It seeks $7.1 billion in damages, which could be tripled to more than $21 billion.”

The NFL did everything it could to see the lawsuit through. They even brought in league commissioner Roger Goodell and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to testify on behalf of the league.

“I think we’ve been very clear … that this was a premium product. And not just in terms of price, but in terms of the quality of the product itself,” Goodell testified.

The problem with this premium price is that other streaming services like AppleTV and ESPN offered a more reasonable deal to show individual teams on “Sunday Ticket” for around $70 per season. Instead of making the price affordable for more customers, DirectTV reportedly kept the price high.

Although the NFL lost this historic case, the league plans to appeal the decision.

According to the statement, “We are disappointed with the jury’s verdict today in the NFL Sunday Ticket class action lawsuit,” the league said in a statement. “We will certainly appeal this decision as we believe the class action claims in this case are without merit and without merit. We thank the jury for their time and service and for Judge Gutierrez’s guidance and oversight during the trial.”

Should the NFL also lose appeal, it would dramatically change the way games are viewed in the United States. Rival streamers could also potentially offer the “Sunday Ticket” at a much lower price, like the $70 option discussed by ESPN.

The ‘Sunday Ticket’ is currently only available on YouTubeTV, but that may change in the coming months.