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Why DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket Might Be Illegal Under Antitrust Law

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Plankton, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. Plankton

    Plankton Well-Known Member

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    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.
    Mr_C, GoCowboysGo, 408Cowboy and 2 others like this.
  2. Jake

    Jake Curmudgeon

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  3. erod

    erod Well-Known Member

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    This is probably why DirecTV is not giving deals this year on NFL Ticket. Every year I'm able to swing a deal for it because I've been with them so long. Not this year though. They won't budge.

    I'm seriously considering cancelling DirecTV as a result.
  4. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Moderator

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    I get the Sunday ticket for 2 reasons.

    1. Obvious to see Cowboy games not on network.

    2. To see games I want to see and NOT being forced to watch whatever game the networks decide to broadcast in my city.

    When I lived in Ohio and 2 of the 3 games I got each Sunday afternoon was the Brown and the Bengals, I told my wife to pony up and get Sunday Ticket because I wasn't going to sit there and watch that crap each week.
    baltcowboy, Mr_C and DallasEast like this.
  5. Diehardblues

    Diehardblues Well-Known Member

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    The NFL is exempt to Anti Trust laws.
    Bobhaze and 408Cowboy like this.
  6. Silver N Blue

    Silver N Blue Well-Known Member

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    I just got it for free. I haven't had to pay for it the past 7 years.
    Eanwen likes this.
  7. Diehardblues

    Diehardblues Well-Known Member

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    Equal TV Revenue amongst NFL teams is the benchmark for Parity and overall success with all franchises in the NFL allowing small markets like Green Bay and Pittsburgh to be as competitive as New York or Chicago.

    The Sunday Ticket is a property of the NFL and falls under their Anti Trust exemptions.

    The Ticket has allowed fans everywhere to watch every single game. And been a necessity for Diehard fans who live outside the locally or regional broadcast. And fans who simply want access to all the games.

    Before we had Satellite providers I received all the games free with a 12 foot black mesh dish which beamed directly to the satellites. It was awesome. That was back in the 80’s and ended in early 90’s. There was no service fee just a couple thousand investment for dish installed with receiver.
    VACowboy likes this.
  8. Insomniac

    Insomniac Active Member

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    The NFL has a limited anti-trust exemption that applies to national TV contracts.. They have lost a number of anti-trust cases over the years, including the Freeman McNeil and Reggie White cases that led to the current salary cap and free agent system.
    MichaelWinicki likes this.
  9. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    The fundamental concept is NOT good long term for the NFL, IMO.

    The NFL should strive to have as many people watching games as absolutely possible and then work backwards to monetize it.

    Having NFL fans that can't watch games is just silly and can only lead to a decline in viewers over time, IMO.

    More people live outside of their team's local viewing area than in decades past.
    - There have always been Cowboys fan all over the country but with other teams more people move away from "home" than in past decades.

    Add another network in the mix and show more games nationally.
    - More games watched equals more advertising revenue.

    If they can't manage that, then a reasonable cost package via streaming to get just the games of a specific team would work better than Sunday Ticket.
    DcFootball4, jwooten15 and Mr_C like this.
  10. DakPresgoat

    DakPresgoat Well-Known Member

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    I would love for Sunday ticket to just be available with my tv provider. I would pay the $300 a year to have it.

    NFL redzone for $10 a month is a consolation prize I guess. But I generally miss 2-3 cowboys games a year by not having Sunday ticket.
    Silver N Blue and baltcowboy like this.
  11. DallasEast

    DallasEast Cowboys 24/7/365 Moderator

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    My big dish was a godsend. I loved wild feeds.
    Diehardblues and CowboyStar88 like this.
  12. DakPresgoat

    DakPresgoat Well-Known Member

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    Correct. The teams can still split the proceeds from the additional networks, equally. It wouldn’t matter if more fans tune into one game or another. As long as more fans are just watching NFL games period.
    Mr_C and xwalker like this.
  13. jazzcat22

    jazzcat22 Well-Known Member

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    I had NFL ST when I lived in FL, but kept it when I moved to TX. I also kept it for when I traveled for work.
    Had it from 1997 through 2013 seasons. But in DFW area I kept it for the same reasons, to watch other games than any lame local broadcast. Actually to see Bengals games for the most part.

    I wanted to keep it, but when I went to change some programming when I was working in Jacksonville for family staying at my house while I was away. The DTV person insulted me about changing things up, so I cancelled it all. Went to UVerse. Then I was basically forced to switch back to DTV. They gave it to me free from 2016 and 2017, but would not budge last year. My current deal is coming due the end of this month, so will see what happens when I contact them to threaten to cancel it all again.

    I would like to get it again, but not at their high prices.
  14. Bobhaze

    Bobhaze Well-Known Member

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    The NFL plays by a set of business rules that other industries don’t. NFL owners have one of the easiest profit making enterprises in the world. Their profit sharing among all 32 teams ensures that no team fails financially. Who wouldn’t want to own something like that?

    Which is why I don’t buy that NFL owners have “risks” like other business owners. They are almost completely guaranteed to make a profit regardless of what they do. Which is why when there are labor disputes or contract fights between players and ownership, I almost always side with the players. They are risking way more than NFL owners IMO. I don’t like Zeke’s holdout- the timing of it especially. But I understand why he’s doing it and the owners greed is a big part of it.
  15. DallasEast

    DallasEast Cowboys 24/7/365 Moderator

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    My wish is that the NFL finally ends its exclusive partnership with Directv and sell their package to as many nationwide cable networks as possible. The resulting competition between networks would likely lower subscriber costs significantly in relation to Directv's established pricing schedule.
  16. Jipper

    Jipper Well-Known Member

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    i wish you could just pay ala carte for the games you want.....its over priced at 300 for the season and at least half of the games we play are avaialbe in my market....essentially, i end up paying about 40-50 bucks per game i watch that isnt in my market...but i still pay bc its cheaper than going to the bar!
  17. DakPresgoat

    DakPresgoat Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. I have always resisted signing up with direct tv. I don’t really want their service. The nfl Sunday ticket is the only reason I would want it. But it hasn’t been enough to get me to switch.
    DallasEast likes this.
  18. IndianaCowboys1994

    IndianaCowboys1994 Well-Known Member

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    My dad got some kind of deal this year. Keep trying, there is someone who will budge. I'm doing the StudentU. $25 a month. Stream on Roku. We will see how it goes.
  19. IndianaCowboys1994

    IndianaCowboys1994 Well-Known Member

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    I feel for you and those who live in the bay area and Florida. Terrible teams!!!
  20. playmakers

    playmakers Well-Known Member

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    What’s your secret. I have had success in the past but this year I only got 12 bucks off a month. I’ve tried 3x and all through loyalty and retention. I’m not looking to get it for free, even though it would be nice, but I was looking for a better deal than that.
    Silver N Blue likes this.

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