MLB Anti-Trust Settlement Hits Snag with Objector
Back in 2012, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Major League Baseball and some of its broadcast partners, including Comcast and DirecTV, alleging that the high prices for “out of market” games and the blackouts of local “in market” telecasts constituted violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The suit accused the defendants of protecting exclusive territories that had been carved out for live-game video presentation using “anticompetitive blackouts.”
However, recently it seemed that the lawsuit was coming to an end, with Forbes reporting that the MLB had settled the class action suit in federal court. Sources had indicated that the settlement would include the provision of single-team-in-market streaming for $84.99 for the season as well as the cost of MLB.TV Premium being lowered from $129.99 to $109.99. The MLB released a statement confirming that a settlement had been reached, but declined to comment further as the process was still ongoing.
The process, however, has hit a bump in the road, as class member Sean Hull filed an objection to the settlement, arguing that it is unfair because class counsel failed to obtain monetary relief for the class that resulted in “excessive” $16.5 million attorneys’ fees. While it is Sean Hull’s name attached to the objection, counsel for the class has said that the objection is backed by Christopher Bandas of Bandas Law Firm P.C., “who is so ‘notorious’ that he no longer enters appearances on behalf of clients in cases . . . .” He further stated that an objection over monetary relief in the case was “baseless,” as the certified classes were for injunctive relief only.
The deal had been granted preliminary approval, and the class intends to push for approval of the settlement despite the objection filed and even though the plan does not end in-market blackouts.