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.