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NFL’s $12 Billion DirecTV Deal Faces Antitrust Lawsuit

The NFL and DirecTV are facing a major class-action lawsuit around their exclusive $12 billion Sunday Ticket deal — which provides for a package of the league’s out-of-market football games.

“This exclusive deal allows DirecTV to charge supracompetitive prices for NFL Sunday Ticket,” the lawsuit states. “DirecTV’s arrangement with the NFL allows the defendants to restrict the output of, and raise the prices for, the live broadcast of NFL Sunday afternoon out-of-market games.”

Antitrust attorney Michael Hausfeld and his Hausfeld LLP colleagues filed the suit Monday on behalf of bars and restaurants throughout the nation, led by the San Francisco pub the Mucky Duck. The group claims the TV package is overpriced and violates two sections of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

According to the lawsuit, a bar with a 100-person occupancy must pay $2,314 for Sunday Ticket. Establishments larger in size, including Las Vegas hotels, are charged more than $120,000 per year.

The suit alleged that this deal is the only one  of its kind in which a major sport has an exclusive out-of-market broadcasting arrangement.

“Of the four major professional sports in this country — baseball, basketball, hockey, and football — the only one with an exclusive out-of-market broadcasting arrangement is the NFL/DirecTV Sunday Ticket,” states the complaint. “Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League all distribute live out-of-market games through multiple MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors], including, for example, DirecTV, Dish Network, Comcast, Cox Cable and Time Warner.”

DirecTV charges less for MLB Extra Innings, NBA League Pass and NHL Center Ice, which provide more weekly games over a longer season, the suit reads.

The plaintiffs are seeking the recovery of damages for premiums that DirecTV has charged for Sunday Ticket as well as an injunction on the deal, which was renewed in 2014.

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