https://www.si.com/nfl/2019/08/14/nfl-sunday-ticket-directv-antitrust-violation-lawsuit Is DirectTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket illegal? According to a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday, the famed television package that millions of fans use to watch NFL games could be in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Writing for a divided three-judge panel, Judge Sandra Segal Ikuta reversed a trial court dismissal of a case brought four years ago by a group of Sunday Ticket subscribers against the NFL and DirectTV. The subscribers, who are represented by attorneys from the law firms Susman Godfrey, Langer Grogan & Diver and Hausfeld LLP, intend for their lawsuit to become a class action. They purport to represent out-of-town fans who can only watch their favorite team play on TV every week if they purchase Sunday Ticket. Since 1994, the NFL has partnered with DirectTV to make the Sunday Ticket the exclusive provider of live telecasts of out-of-town games on Sunday afternoon. The Ticket reportedly costs $293 a season. The alleged antitrust problem with the Sunday Ticket Antitrust law is designed to ensure that competing businesses—such as NFL franchises—actually compete, rather than conspire. This area of law also attempts to maximize “consumer welfare,” a term that refers to the benefits obtained by consumers when they’re able to acquire goods and services. The alleged antitrust problem with the Sunday Ticket—and, more broadly, with the NFL combining the broadcasting of games into bundled deals with NBC, CBS, Fox and ESPN—is that it precludes individual NFL teams from competing with one another in the broadcasting of games to out-of-town markets. Fans can thus be deprived of the chance to watch out-of-market games on “free” TV channels, meaning their local NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates. Also, local affiliates and regional sports networks—as well as companies that pay for commercials to air on broadcasts—are denied the chance to bid for those games. Consider the following hypothetical. Imagine that you and your best friend are diehard Dallas Cowboys fans. You live in Chicago and your friend lives in Phoenix. If there are enough Cowboys fans in Chicago and Phoenix to make it economically worthwhile for Jerry Jones, he could create multiple telecasts of each Cowboys game and distribute them into the Chicago and Phoenix TV markets. Jones could rely on cable, satellite and Internet channels to distribute those games. Considering how many TV channels there are now, it seems more than plausible that Jones could find stations in Chicago and Phoenix to pay for the right to broadcast Cowboys games. You and your friend could then watch every Cowboys game from the comfort of your homes and not have to buy the Sunday Ticket.