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US: CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN escape antitrust lawsuit over NFL broadcast deals

 |  June 26, 2016

Four major broadcasters with rights to televise NFL games got some good news on Friday when they were dropped from an antitrust lawsuit claiming collusion in the way that professional football broadcast deals have been set up. The putative class action alleging that DirecTV “Sunday Ticket” customers suffer from anti-competitive pricing and restrictive supply continues to rage, but only the NFL, its teams and the satcaster will have to defend it moving forward.

Beginning last summer, “Sunday Ticket” was the subject of more than a dozen lawsuits including one brought on behalf of bars and restaurants paying as much as $120,000 per year to show its patrons games. The legal onslaught occurred after plaintiffs in a similar case against the MLB, the NHL, and its regional sports network partners experienced success via a certification of a class actionand settlements.

As a result of the flurry of lawsuits, the “Sunday Ticket” cases were consolidated as part of the multidistrict litigation (MDL) process. Since then, the various plaintiff attorney law firms have been fighting amongst themselves about who would be leading the charge.

In May, the judge settled that issue by deciding which four firms — Hausfeld; Susman Godfrey; Robins Kaplan; and Langer, Grogan & Diver — would be acting as co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel. Five other firms including Cohen Milstein were regulated to a steering committee.

Full Content: Hollywood Reporter

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