NFL Ordered to Pay Nearly $48 Billion in Sunday Ticket Antitrust Lawsuit

Los Angeles, California – In a landmark ruling, a federal jury has ordered the National Football League (NFL) to pay a staggering $48 billion in damages for violating antitrust laws with its “Sunday Ticket” package. Let’s dive into the details of this legal battle.

Background: NFL Sunday Ticket

The NFL Sunday Ticket, introduced in 1994, allows fans to watch out-of-market games on Sundays. Initially provided by DirecTV, it became a coveted offering for football enthusiasts. However, the lawsuit alleges that the NFL’s exclusive deal with DirecTV inflated prices and restricted competition.

The Lawsuit Unveiled

The class-action lawsuit, filed in 2015, contends that the NFL’s approach violates antitrust laws. Unlike the NBA and MLB, which allow fans to purchase individual team games, the NFL offers only one package with all out-of-market games. The plaintiffs argue that this lack of flexibility harms consumers.

NFL Sunday Ticket

The High-Stakes Battle

The plaintiffs seek $7 billion in damages, but antitrust cases can triple that amount. With over 2.4 million residential subscribers and more than 48,000 commercial establishments impacted, the financial implications are immense. The NFL maintains that “Sunday Ticket” is an add-on for out-of-town fans, emphasizing that local games are available on broadcast networks.

Trial Timeline

  • 2015: Class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of San Francisco bar “Mucky Duck.”
  • 2017: Federal judge initially dismissed the case, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated it.
  • 2020: Supreme Court declined to review the lower court’s ruling, allowing the case to proceed.
  • 2023: Court certified the claims as a class action.
  • 2024: Trial begins in Los Angeles, with jury selection expected to last multiple weeks.

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