DirecTV Sunday Ticket lawsuit has NFL in a tough spot and facing massive change

June 23, 2024 – Media Mention
The Boston Globe, Sports Business Journal

Irwin Kishner, co-chair of Herrick's Sports Law Group, was quoted in an article in the Boston Globe discussing a class action lawsuit against the NFL alleging that "the league broke antitrust laws by selling its Sunday Ticket package from 2011-22 at an inflated price with restricted competition. The NFL argues that it has the right to sell Sunday Ticket as one bundle as part of its antitrust exemption, and that Sunday Ticket was only designed as a premium product." According to the article, while the lawsuit is over a decade old, it finally went to trial this month. 

“It’s definitely seismic,” said Irwin. “You don’t see [the NFL] in court much. It’s very unusual to see it get to this stage. At some point I think the NFL’s strategy is going to be to try to find a way to make this go away.”

The article notes that the plaintiffs are asking for $7 billion in damages, "with treble damages pushing the NFL’s liability to potentially $21 billion." The lawsuit could also potentially require the NFL to offer more a la carte options for watching out-of-market games.

“I don’t think [a $21 billion judgment] puts them out of business, but the more systemic issue is: Does the court say that media rights revert to the individual teams?” said Irwin. “That would really cause systemic changes to the way the league is run.”

Read the full article in the Boston Globe here. Access may require a subscription.