Written by 04:20 Business

N.F.L. Ordered to Pay Billions in Sunday Ticket Lawsuit

The N.F.L. must pay almost $5 billion in damages for artificially inflating the price of Sunday Ticket, a subscription service offered by DirecTV that showed out-of-market games, a federal jury in Los Angeles decided on Thursday.

The verdict, which capped a monthlong class-action trial and almost a decade of legal wrangling, includes about $96 million in damages for the bars and restaurants that subscribed to the service, and more than $4.6 billion for roughly 2.4 million residential subscribers. Damages in antitrust cases like this are tripled by law, which means the league may have to pay more than $14 billion.

The jury’s damages were most of what the plaintiffs lawyers were seeking. “It’s a great day for consumers everywhere,” said Bill Carmody, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

The N.F.L. is expected to appeal the verdict.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s verdict today in the N.F.L. Sunday Ticket class action lawsuit,” Brian McCarthy, a league spokesman, said in a statement. “We will certainly contest this decision as we believe that the class action claims in this case are baseless and without merit.”

Judge Philip Gutierrez, who openly admonished the plaintiffs’ lawyers during the trial in U.S. District Court, will hear post-trial motions next month. He could, in theory, decide that the jury reached an improper verdict. An appeals court could also alter the size of the damages.

Still, the verdict poses a substantial risk to the league, which is a $20 billion juggernaut in large part because of its media deals.


Last modified: 30 June 2024