Earlier this month, we told you about the National Hockey League settling a lawsuit over its Gamecenter out-of-market package which displaced fans had to buy all games in order to see their favorite teams. The settlement will allow fans to buy single-team packages so they won’t have to buy the entire Gamecenter package. In the wake of that settlement, the NBA quickly announced that it would offer single-game and single-team options for League Pass.

After the NBA and NHL announced they would relax their requirements on their pay packages, the next target has been set on the National Football League and its venerable Sunday Ticket that’s offered on DirecTV. Like the NBA and NHL bundles were previously offered, fans must buy the entire Sunday Ticket package and there are no single-game, single-team or week-by-week options.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed in California federal court against DirecTV and the NFL seeking to break up Sunday Ticket into similar options as the NBA and NHL packages. The suit filed by Thomas Abrahamian alleges by putting Sunday Ticket on DirecTV only, it’s an illegal monopoly. Plus, “the League is able to require purchasers of NFL Sunday Ticket to buy all ‘out-of-market’ games of all the League’s teams even if the fan is only interested in a particular team or a particular game. Thus, a Cleveland Browns fan living in California cannot watch the Browns  play, except occasional games on network television, unless he purchases the entire package of League games from NFL Sunday Ticket.”

The suit says the person filing the lawsuit is a New England Patriots fan living in California and says he’s forced to purchase the entire Sunday Ticket, but “he would prefer not to be required to purchase a full “out-of-market” package to get New England Patriots games. Plaintiff was charged supra-competitive  prices for his service…”

The lawsuit not only lists the NFL and DirecTV, but all of the league’s teams as defendants.

Last October, DirecTV and the NFL signed a new eight-year, $1.5 billion annual fee deal to keep Sunday Ticket on the satellite provider through the 2022-23 season. The package has been offered only on DirecTV since 1994.

With the NBA and the NHL reacting to lawsuits, we’ll see if the NFL will be next in line.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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