Judge Rules on DirecTV/Sunday Ticket Suit

The blackout has long been the bane of avid sports fans who long to see their favorite teams on the field of play.

Antenna_DirecTV_HDBy Julianprescott2604juuly – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42505993

A group of football fans took satellite company DirecTV and their Sunday Ticket football package to court. The program promises that football fans can watch any out-of-market game…for a price.

Last February, U.S. District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell heard the case in which the NFL and DirecTV defined exactly what they saw the definition of a “blackout game” to be. With the various television networks offering “regional games” and the various “Sunday Ticket” games, DirecTV and the NFL noted that in essence, every NFL game was available somewhere; in other words, no games were truly blacked out.

However, the football watching fans were not satisfied and claimed that they should be able to watch any game they wanted without having to pay for the privilege.

On June 30, Judge O’Connell ruled for DirecTV, Sunday Ticket, and the NFL and dismissed the suit. O’Connell noted that the fans had an issue when it came to antitrust since DirecTV is the sole owner of Sunday Ticket; however, they do not have an argument when it comes to DirecTV negotiating with the NFL for game rights.

However, O’Connell determined that with so many games available for viewing, Sunday Ticket did not limit game availability and in fact creates an increase in viewership.

And while the suit stated that DirecTV charged inflated prices for their Sunday Ticket, it did not limit or harm any competition. She added that since the Sunday Ticket contract must be renegotiated every few years, it offers competitors the opportunity to compete with DirecTV.


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