NFL, DirecTV face another Sunday Ticket class action

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Last month, lawyers filed a class action against the NFL and DirecTV for antitrust violations arising from the Sunday Ticket package from the perspective of the individual consumer. This month, another class action has emerged regarding Sunday Ticket from the perspective of establishments that cater to individual consumers.

Via Deadline.com, a San Francisco pub known as the Mighty Duck serves as the named plaintiff in a lawsuit on behalf of bars and other establishments that pay much larger fees than the individual consumer for the ability to televise out-of-market games on Sundays during football season.

The lawsuit claims that a bar that holds 51 to 100 patrons will pay $2,314 this year for the ability to broadcast Sunday Ticket games, and that Las Vegas hotels and other large venues pay more than $120,000 annually for out-of-market games.

The NFL most likely will argue that the broadcast antitrust exemption, which allows all games to be bundled and sold to networks regardless of the specific teams involved, extends to the manner in which those games are marketed to the end user. The question becomes whether the lawyers handling the class action will push the case through to a final verdict that resolves the issue of marketing out-of-market games once and for all, or whether they’ll recommend a settlement that doesn’t really settle the issue — but that compensates the lawyers handsomely for their efforts to push the case to a settlement.

31 responses to “NFL, DirecTV face another Sunday Ticket class action

  1. This is a loser for Direct,,,How hard is it to offer the “NEW ENGLAND” channel and I just pay for that? They are not going to win this one,,since they already offer regional sports channels Ala Carte..(NESN-new england sports network) etc etc

  2. Pretty soon you patriot fans will going on & on about the celtics bruins & Red Sox … Because football in Massachusetts will return to the 1970’s……..

  3. DTV needs to change their model. With smart TV and numerous programming options that are much cheaper than their bundles, fans are going to want the NFL ticket without a dish. If they don’t meet this demand, the NFL will lose fans.

    That’s not something NFL should or will be prepared to do.

    And it is absolutely a monopoly. Anti-trust for sports should just extend to allowing for a level talent pool, not for restricting viewership or holding fans financially hostage.

  4. Been a Sunday Ticket subscriber since it’s exception (live in New England but want to watch the Cowboy’s) and the most exasperating thing is that i pay full price every year while they GIVE IT FOR FREE to new customers. that is plain wrong.

  5. Truth: The first time you call them to complain about it they will lower the price. I have never seen a company offer discounts so quickly with just a simple phone call. Try it.

  6. DirecTV treats its long term customers like crap. It’s nice to hear that they will lower the price if you call and complain, but if a company really values its customers, it will offer discounts based on longevity. The company I work for does that.

    That said, lawsuits like this one are the reason the days of DirecTV’s monopoly on the NFL Sunday Ticket are numbered. The best thing the NFL could do for the fan is to allow all cable and satellite carriers to the option to carry the Sunday Ticket. That increased competition will spur many more viewers than the league has now, and will generate even higher revenues from increased advertising prices based on the increase in viewers.

    It’s called common sense: unfortunately, the league office seems to be more than a bit devoid of that attribute in recent years.

  7. Yeah NFL Sunday Ticket cost so much money it’s ridicolus… Now They don’t even give you RedZone when you shell out all that money. Now they make you pay another 200$ for RedZone!!
    You should be able to pay for whatever team you want. If I live in Green Bay and I’m a NY JETS fan I should be able to watch NY JETS every week for 10 bucks THE MOST every week

  8. There is no antitrust issue here. Don’t buy it if you don’t like the price. I refuse to give Charter Cable extra money for the NFL Network. They are surviving fine without me and I don’t miss it. Likewise I don’t care about Sunday Ticket so I don’t buy it. If I wanted it bad enough I’d pay for it. Why should they give it away if people are willing to pay for it. The NFL has no obligation to sell a particular package to anyone who wants it.

  9. I’ve been a loyal costumer for 15 years but once they started giving it for free to new customers and would not even give me a discount THEN started to charge me EXTRA for sports package AND REDZONE.
    I canceled..I will now just look to stream games… Yeah it sucks I have to do this but DirecTV leaves me no choice

  10. Is it a requirement that sportsbars have to contract the NFL sunday ticket via DirecTV or cable? Because SKY México offers the full package of NFL Sunday Ticket for about $100 dlls and even though supposedly they can not sell subs to people in the US I do know they sell their subs in the US. Another way could be to buy their business package and pay three times more but it is still considerably less. On the downside SKY sats do not reach all of the US, and in that case Shaw Direct or whatever is called, a Canadian provider, could come in handy, that is if there is no law stating that only US pay-tv providers can sell programming to sports bars and similar venues.

    On the other hand, since MLB is managing the NFL’s online streaming deparments because they were downright mediocre, in the near future people and businesses could be buying NFL Ticket and watching it on their TVs with their Rokus and smartv apps like already lots do with MLB.tv using rokus, Playstations, Xboxes, etc… unless it already exists LOL.

  11. This is becoming the latest trend. NHL “Center Ice” settled a similar lawsuit recently. I received a letter stating that I will be getting next season for less than half of what I paid last season. Their package is much more cost effective when you consider the number of games available. Sunday Ticket is still worth it IMO and is nearly as good as being at the game; just with cheaper beer. 🙂

  12. Direct tv should offer redzone all by itself like cable does. That’s all I care to watch since I live in the market of my favorite team.

  13. This should probably be considered in 2 layers:

    1) The NFL sells their combined games package to DirecTV. Aspects of that deal would be price and exclusivity, but it’s understood that DirecTV wants all games to do with as they wish.

    2) DirecTV can then sell whatever they want to the customer, whether that’s a complete package of all games or a team-specific package. They can determine pricing based on the type of package and the type of consumer (business vs residential).

    As such, I don’t see why the NFL should even be named in the lawsuit.

  14. I don’t get all the complaining. These bars are paying $2314 for 17wks ($136 per wk) to provide every NFL game to their customers. If you can’t leverage NFL content to generate enough extra business/profit to cover the cost (and increase profits) – then rethink your business model.

    For individual home consumers – it’s roughly $350/yr which is $20/wk. Unless you really only care about one team and watching ONLY their games – then this is still a reasonable value. While my primary interest is in watching ONLY one team, may times I have to use Sunday Ticket to watch the “game of the day” because it is preempted by the local in-market broadcast – so it still provides me great NFL entertainment flexibility.

  15. Pretty soon you patriot fans will going on & on about the celtics bruins & Red Sox … Because football in Massachusetts will return to the 1970’s……..

    ———

    And that’s supposed to bother us? lol. Pats ARE STILL on a historic run, and we’ll enjoy it till it’s over. Always loved that one, “you guys just wait till it’s over!” SOUNDS GOOD.

    Then, we’ll move on to other championship caliber teams, see who the next dynasty will be.

  16. @lostsok says:
    Jul 15, 2015 8:28 AM

    DTV needs to change their model.

    ****************************
    Agree with your post, but not your prediction.
    The very fact that the DirecTV Sunday Ticket IS a monopoly, AND NFL fans who really want to see their out of market team no matter what make it a reality that the NFL really will NOT “lose” fans.

    Fact it, those who really, truly are fans and have the means to pay for it are going to continue to pay for it unless they price themselves out of what is reasonable.

    I think a pay per view on either Teams or games is a win-win for them and consumers.. but be warned consumers… you will in ALL likelihood pay FAR more for it on per-game or per Team basis.

  17. Possible Packages:

    a) Team only.
    b) Division.
    c) Conference.
    d) All.

    In addition, you could make up specialty packages similar to FOX’s “Game of the Week”.

  18. What I took from this article is how poorly this business is being run…next up from them Bar Rescue.

    This bar must be on its last legs if they can’t afford $2314.00

    Let’s do the math you have 17 Sundays and 6 hours of games, giving us 102 hours of NFL action.

    2314/102 = 22.68 per hour

    If the GM of this bar only get 50 customers in the bar the cost he or she need to cover per hour per cutomer to show every NFL game is only $0.45.

    According to priceoftravel.com the average cost of a beer is $4-$7 in San Fran.

    If I own the bar my GM is fired!

  19. I have had Direct TV for the NFL Package since 1998. The NFL ticket is the only thing that keeps them viable, unless you live out in the middle of no where and can not get cable.

    I have cable & Direct TV, and the basic services are the same, with the exception of the high speed internet is better with cable. If cable offered the NFL Ticket, I would drop Direct TV, as would most other consumers. For this reason they pay a significant fee and will not be outbid for the exclusive rights to broadcast all the games.

  20. Part of the problem is that limited access to all of the games people really want to see drives NFL fans to their local broadcast network games. This inflates the ratings which in turn allows them to charge more for the advertising.

    FOX and CBS probably have some kind of deal built into their contracts that if Sunday Ticket or PPV access to all of the games becomes readily available their contract with the NFL gets reduced and that is the REAL money maker for the league.

    So, even though easy access to out of market games would be great for the NFL fan base and could even bring in more money on that side of the business look for the NFL to fight this to the very end.

  21. If anyone actually believes that the NFL, who decides to make it available to just ONE provider, doesn’t have a say on how it’s being distributed, then you’re crazy, the NFL most certainly has a say on how they provide it.

    This isn’t DirecTVs fault, you can’t fault them for bidding the highest for it, if someone like Comcast or Time Warner did, then everyone would complain about them being a monopoly on the NFL.

    IMO, a monopoly is when there is no other TV service, or Internet provider in town, like for me, I have DirecTV for TV, but Time Warner for Internet, but why? No other providers, not even Verizon DSL is offered, and if I wanted Satellite, they cap you per month. The only good thing about cable is they actually offer great internet, at a decent price, even though over 100 a month is ridiculous.

    As for DirecTV not being afloat without NFL, that’s insane, they are by far the best service out there, I hardly ever lose signal, I lost it when I had Time Warner as my TV, I pay far less than I did with TWC, I pay hardly anything in taxes, as they don’t get city taxes, as they aren’t using anything that has to do with city property.

    I agree that the Ticket price is high, too high, but if you call in they will give you a discount, and this whole thing that they treat there long term customers like crap is BS, I’ve been with them now for almost 10 years, and almost every year I have paid far less than the advertised price for the Ticket, all about negotiating with them.

    It’s simple, call in, be polite, ask for discounts, even if they don’t for NFL, they may give you $30 off a month for 6 months, and then more off your extra packages, which would make the Ticket cost basically little to nothing.

  22. NFL makes too much money to be exempt from anything at this point. The business model grew from what it was years ago. No longer needs protection, it’s a shame they are all so greedy..

  23. he NFL, who decides to make it available to just ONE provider…

    You were wrong from that point, so I didn’t bother reading the rest.

    DirecTV *pays* for the privilege of exclusivity. The NFL would be more than happy to sell the games to every distributor out there…DirecTV shells out extra to keep them from doing so.

  24. Just ask Dodger fans about how much they like cable TV. If they don’t have Time Warner then they can’t even watch games in their home market. If you live in So Cal and have direcTv, just tell them that you are upset about not seeing Dodger games and you will get a huge discount for the NFL package. It worked for me and I’m an Angels fan transplanted from Pittsburgh. 🙂

  25. Bars are making money off the sunday ticket home subscribers dont thats why you pay more we all know that…..new subscribers get one year free thats all full price there after.

  26. @thetruth,

    I’m in the same situation as you. Been a DTV Sunday Ticket subscriber since 1999 and was constantly upset about the FREE offer to new customers. Two years ago I complained when renewing the Ticket and they gave me the same offer, one year free with a two year commitment. People that are long time customers call and complain, ask for a supervisor, ask for the same offer that they give to new customers. Squeaky wheel gets grease, as they say.

    On another note, people like rutledge3197 who post their hate for the defending Super Bowl Champions. On a topic that has nothing to do with the Patriots need to find something better to do than trolling day after day. We’ve been hearing that this is the year that the Pats go back to loosing for about a decade.

  27. Any home customer paying full price for NFL Sunday Ticket needs to step up their game. Since 2004 when I first got the package, I have never paid full price. You will need to call retention and ask for a discount. I have been getting it for 50% off their advertised price plus monthly service credits to cover more than the rest of the cost.

    This year for example I paid 160 for NFL Sunday Ticket MAX and received 50 dollars a month for 12 months in service credits.

  28. Beware of unintended consequences, I could easily see the NFL saying, “Fine, we’ll make each game pay per view” and jacking up the overall costs to access all of them. That’s probably where things are headed regardless, and could lead fans like me to say, “Enough.”

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