NFL faces class-action lawsuit over Sunday Ticket

Sunday Ticket subscribers argue the NFL has inflated the price of out-of-market games.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the NFL by subscribers of the Sunday Ticket package. 

Subscribers claim the league violated antitrust laws by selling out-of-market Sunday afternoon games at an inflated price and restricting competition by offering the package only through a satellite provider.


The big picture: The NFL argues that it has the right to sell Sunday Ticket under its antitrust exemption for broadcasting but the plaintiffs argue that this exemption only applies to over-the-air broadcasts and not pay TV.

  • The case began on June 6 in Los Angeles and involves more than 2.4 million residential subscribers and 48,000 businesses that purchased NFL Sunday Ticket from June 17, 2011, to Feb. 7, 2023.
  • The lawsuit was initially filed by the Mucky Duck sports bar in San Francisco in 2015, and after various legal proceedings, including rulings and appeals, the case was eventually allowed to proceed as a class action by U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez.

What we’re watching: If found liable, the NFL could face damages amounting to $7 billion, potentially tripling to $21 billion due to antitrust laws, though the league is likely to appeal any decision to higher courts.

Go deeper: The NFL’s broadcasters, Fox and CBS, have reportedly pushed for premium pricing of Sunday Ticket to protect local ratings, with Fox demanding a price of above $293.96 per season in a 2020 term sheet.

  • The outcome of this lawsuit may have implications for other sports leagues that offer out-of-market packages, as teams might consider selling their streaming rights individually, potentially affecting the distribution of revenue in sports broadcasting.
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