NFL’s Sunday Ticket Faces Class Action

On Tuesday, a California federal court judge certified a $6 billion class action suit against the National Football League (NFL) over the cost of its “Sunday Ticket” package with DirecTV.

The suit alleges that the NFL illegally broadcast games and drove up the cost of its Sunday Ticket package, which provides viewers with out-of-market and local Sunday games. Viewers must choose between paying for all offered games or none at all, since there is no option to purchase games individually or by team. Sunday Ticket costs almost $300 a year.

The case will be split between residential subscribers and commercial subscribers, such as bars and restaurants. The residential class contains at least 2.4 million members and the commercial class 48,000.

In addition to the NFL’s arguments that the plaintiff’s claims have no merit and that they failed to meet the legal requirements necessary to form classes, it asserts that any injunction altering the distribution of games would be moot, since their DirecTV deal will end after the 2022-2023 season. YouTube (owned by Google) has since signed a multi-year exclusive Sunday Ticket deal.

Nevertheless, the judge noted that the class would still likely suffer the effects of the NFL’s anticompetitive behavior after the move.

Additional Reading

NFL must face class action lawsuit over ‘Sunday Ticket’ prices, Reuters (February 8, 2023)

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