The $6 Billion Class Action Suit Over NFL’s Sunday Ticket Will Head to Trial Next Month





The NFL, fresh off of celebrating the most live-streamed event in U.S. history, will soon be wrestling with a trial over how it handles its Sunday Ticket package in a class-action lawsuit worth more than $6 billion.

The NFL had sought a summary judgment to head of going to court, but Judge Philip S. Gutierrez of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California denied the motion, and will now face a trial over antitrust claims starting February 22, Bloomberg Law and others reported.

The crux of the case is the claim that NFL’s Sunday Ticket is anticompetitive because the league forced fans to purchase a single package covering all out-of-market games, rather than let them make deals with teams individually. Essentially for fans, it may paying for every game, or no games. The plaintiffs argued this deal meant people had to pay more than they needed to get the select games they wanted.

The lawsuit was initially filed in 2015 by a San Francisco pub named The Mucky Duck and after years of back-and-forth, was granted class-action status last February and includes more than 2.4 million people and 48,000 commercial businesses. (You can read more about it here.)

Gutierrez noted that the plaintiffs had provided enough evidence to show a deal between the NFL and its various teams that created the exclusive rights. His justification is that without a deal, those teams could have gone out and struck their own deals. As a result, there was enough reason to go forward with the trial.

Initially, the suit targeted NFL and DIRECTV, which long offered the Sunday Ticket package on its service. But DIRECTV isn’t listed as a defendant, and no longer offers the package. Google’s YouTube, which also isn’t mentioned in the complaint, now offers Sunday Ticket on its streaming service.

A spokesman for the NFL declined to comment on the judge’s decision.

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