Rigging The Game: Bar Owner Says NFL-DirectTV Partnership Violates Sherman Anti-Trust Laws

A class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court on Monday against the National Football League and broadcast satellite service provider DirecTV over their NFL Sunday Ticket partnership. The suit was brought by Ninth Inning Inc., which owns The Mighty Duck sports bar, on behalf of similarly situated establishments. The complaint generally alleges that the business relationship between the NFL and DirecTV is an impermissible monopolistic partnership in violation of Sherman Anti-Trust laws.

In a statement, Ninth Inning described its position:

Because DirecTV and the NFL know that plaintiff and the class must exhibit these games to effectively run their businesses, DirecTV and the NFL have agreed to set priced for NFL Sunday Ticket that are far higher than a competitive market would allow … It has been estimated that prices are as much as 43 percent higher because of DirecTV’s exclusive deal with the NFL, yielding excess profits for DirecTV and the NFL in the tens of millions of dollars.

DirectTV spokesperson Robert Mercer responded to the allegations, stating “we are fully confident of the legality of our agreement with the NFL” and that the lawsuit is “entirely without merit.”

Allegedly, the cost of the Sunday Ticket in the United States can range from approximately $2,314 for a bar or restaurant with a fire code capacity of 51-100 people, to as much as $120,000 for certain Nevada hotels.

This lawsuit comes less than a month after football fan Thomas Abrahamian filed a proposed complaint in a California Federal court that addresses a similar issue, but on the individual consumer level.

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