NFL Loses Antitrust Lawsuit, Ordered to Pay $4.7 Billion

  • The NFL was sued in a class-action suit over their “Sunday Ticket” package, as it was alleged the league colluded with their network partners in out-of-market game distribution.
  • The league was accused of inflating the price of the “Sunday Ticket” package from 2011 to 2022.
  • $4.7 billion in damages was awarded, but because it is a federal case, the number could rise to $14.4 billion.

The NFL is in hot water. On June 6, it was alleged that the league colluded with its network partners to inflate the price of their popular “Sunday Ticket” package. The NFL was accused of allowing only DirecTV to offer “Sunday Ticket”, which decreased the audience’s choice of where they could watch their favorite teams.

On June 27, a US District Court jury found the NFL guilty of these accusations in a class-action lawsuit, according to a report from The Washington Post. They’ve been ordered to pay $4.7 billion in damages. But because this is a federal lawsuit, the damages could be tripled.

That would put that number up to $14.4 billion.

The NFL Is Set to Appeal the Decision

The NFL released a statement, claiming the league was “disappointed” with the jury’s decision:

"We are disappointed with the jury's verdict today in the NFL Sunday Ticket class action lawsuit. 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.

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 [Philip] Gutierrez throughout the trial."

The argument was that the league sold “Sunday Ticket” only to DirecTV from 2011 to 2022, instead of allowing other companies to offer the product and create competition. This, in turn, allegedly allowed DirecTV to inflate the price of “Sunday Ticket”.

The report states the league will have to pay $4.7 billion to one group of the plaintiffs, while an additional $96 million will go to a group of bar and restaurant owners. But since this is a federal lawsuit, these damages can be tripled.

An additional report from ESPN states that post-trial motions will be heard on July 31. One of those motions will be to set aside the verdict. This is, “when a court renders a decision of another court to be invalid”. The NFL is going to appeal to another court if the verdict is set aside. This also means this case likely isn’t over yet.

The ESPN report also revealed there were testimonies from Dallas Cowboys’ owner, Jerry Jones, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, among others.

Will This Affect How We Watch Football?

“Sunday Ticket” is now in the hands of YouTube TV, which signed a seven-year deal with the NFL in 2023. They weren’t named in the lawsuit, as the allegations were made from the time DirecTV owned the package.

This should be good for the consumer, as The Washington Post report discloses that this could lead to “Sunday Ticket” going to multiple companies, which would increase price competition. It’ll be interesting to see how that would happen, with YouTube TV owning the contract. However, this will definitely be a boost to those looking to watch as many games as possible!

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About the Author
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Finn Archer
Finn is an experienced writer (having published articles under the name Phil Bowman) and longtime sports enthusiast based in Europe. His particular passion lies in soccer, as both a die-hard fan and seasoned bettor. That said, he’ll dabble in anything involving a ball, bat, or boxing gloves! He’s learned from his share of bad bets over the years and is keen to impart his wisdom so you don’t make the same mistakes. Since joining TSG, Finn has also gained valuable knowledge in the world of online casinos.

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