Another month, another class action lawsuit against DirecTV over its NFL Sunday Ticket out of market pay package. Last month, a displaced New England Patriots fan sued DirecTV and the NFL over the lack of single-game packages and being forced to buy all games. The latest lawsuit filed on behalf of a San Francisco pub says DirecTV charges too much to bars, restaurants and hotels to show NFL Sunday Ticket at their establishments.
The complaint alleges that DirecTV and the NFL are in violation of anti-trust laws by not opening Sunday Ticket to cable and thus can charge exorbitant prices to establishments. It says bars and restaurants have no choice but to install DirecTV equipment if they want to show NFL games. In addition, they cite the prices charged corresponding to the size of the business:
A bar or restaurant with a fire code occupancy between 51-100 will pay $2,314.00 for Sunday Ticket in 2015 (in addition to television package subscription charges, high-definition access fees, and other charges). And the price for Sunday Ticket is higher the larger the establishment’s EVO is. The largest establishments—like Nevada hotels—are charged more than $120,000 per year for Sunday Ticket.
The lawsuit adds that the other out-of-market sports packages are not as expensive because they’re non-exclusive:
Of the 4 major professional sports in this country—baseball, basketball, hockey, and football—the only one with an exclusive out of market broadcasting arrangement is the NFL/DirecTV Sunday Ticket. Major League Baseball (“MLB”), the National Basketball Association (“NBA”), and the National Hockey League (“NHL”) all distribute live out of marketgames through multiple MVPDs, including,for example, DirecTV, Dish Network, Comcast, Cox Cable and Time Warner.
The suit continues:
As a result, DirecTV does not charge nearly as much for access to MLB Extra Innings, NBA League Pass, and NHL Center Ice, which provide access to more games per week over a longer season than the NFL.
Owners of the San Francisco pub hope that other establishments will join the lawsuit so it can move forward.