NFL to Pay $4.7 Billion in ‘Sunday Ticket’ Antitrust Damages, LA Jury Rules

The NFL owes more than $4.7 billion in damages after a U.S. district court jury ruled Thursday that the league violated antitrust laws.

The NFL was distributing out-of-market Sunday afternoon games as part of their “Sunday Ticket” subscription service. The jury ruled the league pay $4.7 billion to the residential class and $96 million to the commercial class.

The suit was originally filed in 2015 and dismissed in 2017 before being reinstated by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It covered 2.4 million residential subscribers and 48,000 businesses who paid for the package of out of market games from the 2011 through 2022 seasons on DirecTV.

The lawsuit alleged the league broke antitrust laws by selling the Sunday games at inflated prices. By offering “Sunday Ticket” only through satellite providers, the lawsuit claimed they also restricted competition.

The plaintiff argument was that the NFL price-fixing by not offering single team fans options to just stream their games. Instead they’re forced to spend hundreds of dollars on the single “Sunday Ticket” package that includes unnecessary out of market games.

The NFL said it plans to appeal the verdict.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s verdict today in the NFL Sunday Ticket class action lawsuit,” the league said. “We continue to believe that our media distribution strategy, which features all NFL games broadcast on free over-the-air television in the markets of the participating teams and national distribution of our most popular games, supplemented by many additional choices including RedZone, Sunday Ticket and NFL+, is by far the most fan friendly distribution model in all of sports and entertainment.”

The league added, “We will certainly contest this decision as we believe that the class action claims in this case are baseless and without merit. We thank the jury for their time and service and for the guidance and oversight from Judge Gutierrez throughout the trial.”

The post-trial motions begin July 31. The NFL will try to have the verdict set aside then.

DirecTV had “Sunday Ticket” from 1994-2022 before the service moved to YouTube after a 7-year, $14 billion deal was struck.

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