NFL Ordered to Pay $4.7 Billion in ‘Sunday Ticket’ Antitrust Lawsuit

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If you subscribed to the NFL’s “Sunday Ticket” on DirecTV anytime between 2011 and 2022, the federal government says you were ripped off and the NFL now owes you money. A federal jury has ordered the NFL to pay back almost $4.8 billion in damages to American consumers over antitrust violations.

The verdict was delivered a few days ago in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California. The antitrust lawsuit against the NFL says that it conspired to overcharge residential and commercial subscribers to “Sunday Ticket.” Restaurants and bars will be paid about $96 million as a result, and residential subscribers will be repaid the remaining $4.7 billion.

The Mucky Duck sports bar in San Francisco sued to league in 2015, claiming that the NFL was colluding with DirecTV to overcharge for “Sunday Ticket” packages. The “Sunday Ticket” deal allows viewers to watch out-of-market NFL games, but only if they purchase access to a bundle of games from DirecTV.

In other words, even if a sports bar or residential consumer was only interested in the games of one or two teams, they had to subscribe to all 32 teams’ out-of-market games, at monopoly prices.

The plaintiffs argued that this results in a blackout on out-of-market games. The suit alleged that this resulted in substantial damage to competition and violated US antitrust laws. The jury agreed after deliberating for less than a day. Both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones testified in the trial.

Because this was a federal antitrust lawsuit, the awarded damages could ultimately end up being tripled, depending on how many consumers sign up for damages from the NFL. That could put the league on the hook for as much as $14.39 billion.