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NFL Faces Antitrust Trial Over ‘Sunday Ticket’ Telecast in Los Angeles

 |  June 5, 2024

The National Football League (NFL) is heading to trial in Los Angeles on Wednesday, where jurors will decide whether the league violated antitrust laws and should pay billions in damages over its “Sunday Ticket” telecast. The trial, presided over by U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez, is set to begin with jury selection and is expected to last several weeks.

The lawsuit, a federal class action filed in 2015, accuses the NFL of using agreements with broadcast partners to monopolize the distribution of televised games, enabling DirecTV to charge inflated prices as the exclusive distributor of out-of-market games. Plaintiffs, including millions of home viewers and commercial subscribers like restaurants and bars, are seeking $7 billion in damages, a figure that could triple to $21 billion under antitrust law provisions.

Related: NFL’s Exclusive Streaming of Playoff Game Raises Antitrust Concerns

The NFL, which has denied any wrongdoing, described the damages as “speculative.” Both the NFL and its teams are on trial, while related claims against DirecTV have been paused pending arbitration. Attorneys for both parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

If the trial attracts major figures such as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, it could generate significant public interest.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs, who purchased NFL “Sunday Ticket” between June 2011 and February 2023, are expected to argue that the games are a “premium” product intended to enhance access to televised games rather than restrict it.

Source: NY Post